Film: Chithirai Sevvaanam. Duration: 135 mins. Releasing on Zee5.
Director: Stunt Silva. Cast: Samuthirakani, Rima Kallingal, Pooja Kannan, Subramania Siva, Nizhalgal Ravi Pandiyan, Harini Suresh, Krish Silva, Vidhur, Jeeva and Pranav.
IANS Rating: ***
Fight choreographer Stunt Silva's maiden attempt at direction, 'Chithirai Sevvanam', narrates a grim story that is based on the sensational Pollachi sex scandal that shook the state in 2019.
Director A L Vijay, who has written the story of the film, cleverly combines another burning issue - the decision to impose NEET on students aspiring to study medicine - in the plot in the hope that it will help increase the film's impact on audiences.
The film revolves around Muthupandi (Samudrakani), a simple, small-time uneducated farmer from the Pollachi belt, whose only aspiration in life is to see his loving daughter Aishwarya (Pooja Kannan) become a doctor. Muthupandi, who has single-handedly brought her up from a really young age after the untimely demise of his wife in a mishap, wants to make her a doctor because he wants no other person to suffer his fate of losing a dear one due to the lack of medical facilities or personnel.
To her credit, Aishwarya nurtures the same dream as that of her father. The young girl, who shows immense promise, emerges a topper in the twelfth standard exams, much to the delight of her dad who thinks that his dream of seeing her a doctor will now come true. But it is at this point that he gets to know that the ordeal isn't over and that she will have to clear an additional exam called the NEET to study medicine.
With little knowledge about NEET, the farmer, who lives in a remote rural part of the state, seeks the advice of an educationist, who suggests that he put his daughter in a coaching centre in town, to give her an edge in the competitive exam.
Taking his advice, the farmer puts his daughter in a residential coaching centre in the city and returns home to his fields. A few days later, cops come knocking on his door, saying that his daughter has gone missing and that a video clip of hers has began doing the rounds. What he does next is what the film is all about...
The film does make an impact and the primary reason for it is because the story focuses on the pain of a father who has lost his daughter.
Certain scenes in the film leave you emotionally distressed like a scene in the film, where the father of the girl, while trying to track the person who circulated her video clip, happens to see a bunch of young boys discussing the clip. The emotional trauma that he experiences while pleading with them to delete his daughter's clip churns your stomach and makes your heart heavy.
The film highlights the dangers that technology brings today and shows how difficult it is to undo damage that is inflicted on a person's character on the digital medium. It raises questions on women's safety, at a time when advanced technology is easily available to everybody.
Samudrakani comes up with yet another powerful performance in Chithirai Sevvaanam, showcasing two facets. The first facet is an epitome of kindness. He comes across as a doting dad, who is patient, understanding, affectionate and hardworking. The next facet is terrifying. A man livid with rage, he is determined to hunt down anybody and everybody who has harmed his daughter.
Pooja Kannan as Samudrakani's daughter sparkles like a newly minted coin. She effortlessly slips into the role and breathes life into her character. The father-daughter chemistry between Samudrakani and Pooja Kannan in the film works to an extent and that is a big plus for the film.
Sam C S's background score is impressive but unfortunately, a major portion of the BGM bears a striking resemblance to G V Prakash's background score for the critically-acclaimed Dhanush-starrer Asuran.
K G Venkatesh's visuals are a treat to watch.
Chithirai Sevvaanam is not an entertainer. It is a grim story that is bound to leave you with a lump in your throat and a thought in your head.