Vijay Antony is one actor from the current generation willing to explore new frontiers in commercial cinema. He has this knack of choosing scripts which are slightly off-beat, even though they're not devoid of 'masala' elements. His latest film — Saithan, directed by debutant Pradeep Krishnamoorthy — has a spellbinding first half and moves like a psychological thriller, before turning into a mass hero film.
Straightaway, you are hooked to the story of Dinesh (Antony) an IT professional who lives a normal life with his mother (Meera Krishna). Suddenly, after his marriage through a matrimonial site to Aishwarya (Arundhati Nair), he starts hearing strange voices asking him to either commit suicide or go in search of a 'Jayalakshmi' and kill her! His sympathetic boss (YG Mahendran) takes him to a psychiatrist (Kitty), who finds out that in his previous birth, he was a school teacher in Tanjore who was murdered by his wife. Dinesh goes to Tanjore to unravel his past, which leads to some startling discoveries.
At the beginning of the film, the director acknowledges in the credits that he has been inspired by the late Sujatha’s novel Aah . The first half of the film moves like a bullet, leaving you no time to think. And in the second half, due to some smart packaging, the hero turns into a one-man army who takes on the baddies. The last 20 minute have Antony as the avenging hero, shades of Vikram in Shankar’s Aniyaan, playing to the gallery.
What works is the engaging first half and the new and improved Vijay Antony, who is terrific throughout the film, and carries it with ease. He is far more relaxed and convincing than in his earlier films as a mass hero. Arundathi Nair does a neat job as a homely wife and a deadly killer. The supporting cast of YG Mahendran, Kitty, Charuhasan are aptly cast. The BGM done by Vijay Antony creates the right eerie mood.
Writer and director Pradeep Krishnamoorthy has made a thrilling edge-of-the-seat first half before diluting it in second half with a contrived climax. Probably Antony wanted to boost his Tamil mass hero image, which works in B and C markets.
On the whole, Saithan is a racy (run time: 2 hours and 4 minutes) thriller that keeps you hooked for a large part of the proceedings.