When there is a 15 year gap between sequels, we tend to lose connection to the original character. But, when the character is as strong as Aarusaamy we never lose that connection. That is why even after 15 years the excitement for the second instalment of Saamy has not dimmed down, as proven by the rush for the 5 am shows on Friday.
There was trepidation in the lead up to this release. The reason for that is director Hari’s form, which has been pretty much lacklustre over the last few years. The impression was that he had resorted to giving stronger and stronger doses of the same thing (loud and fast action) till we could no longer take it. The legacy of Singam has taken a beating due to his penchant for doing so. Whether he would do the same with Saamy was a genuine concern for all Vikram fans.
Saamy 2 starts off in Delhi and then transitions to Thirunelveli. This in itself is a pattern breaker for Hari who usually starts off in a small town and moves into a big city in the latter half. That he decided to go back to the roots of the Saamy character in Thirunelveli is perhaps the best decision that he has taken for this sequel. Not only has he gone back to Thirunelveli, he has also chosen to reprise the much loved Saamy-Pichai rivalry! Saamy 2 is a proper sequel in all ways. It is not just the return of the Saamy character, it is also the return of the Pichai gang and many of the important characters from the original.
Saamy has to first about Vikram! One wonders how this man has managed to control time – he looks the same, perhaps even better and fitter than what he did 15 years back. His screen presence, charisma and the ability to pull off some outlandish dialogues written by Hari are the key elements that hold the film together. He is able to convince the audience about his almost superman-like powers! It takes a real star to do that and he has shown that the years have hardly dimmed his abilities to hold the audiences in a thrall. Hari has managed to draw a fairly plausible narrative for the sequel. The way he has conceived the evolution of the Saamy-Pichai feud is quite interesting, except for the rather watered-down flashback. Whenever the script focuses on the growth of this rivalry, the movie does grip the viewer.
However, the script doesn’t always focus on that because, let’s face it, this is a ‘commercial’ film and has to go by certain norms. There has to be something in the name of comedy. Well, we can put up with that if the comedy makes us laugh, or at least smile. Soori, in Saamy 2, makes us cringe, makes us want to hide, makes us wonder which part of this Hari found funny enough to include in his movie. The joke is on Soori, we guess, especially with one of the most unfathomable BGMs in recent memories! On a serious note, allowing this kind of crap in the name of comedy shows absolute disregard for the audiences and should not have happened in a premier director’s product. The next ‘necessary’ element for a commercial movie – songs. It will suffice to say that the songs can be good utility breaks for everyone in the theatre.
Talking of music, we have to talk of the BGM too. Hari has used the Saamy signature theme from 2003 at a few places in Saamy 2 and the applause was brilliant every time it played o screen. The original BGM for Saamy 2 was mediocre at best. One is left questioning why Harris Jeyaraj’s services were not sought for the sequel. Nothing personal against DSP, but it has been a while since he did anything noteworthy in Tamil cinema.
Hari has been particularly clever in using the nostalgia factor from Saamy. It has worked well too, with some scenes quite analogous to what we saw in 2003. But, beyond a point it does begin to sour a bit, especially with the Beer-idli reference. The song that follows tries too hard to be a ‘Aarumugam Saamikku’ type of energetic number but falls absolutely flat, and could have been avoided.
All these factors weight down the film considerably. But the Saamy-Pichai rivalry progression, the smart writing in those scenes and the performances of the leads on both sides keeps the movie alive and kicking. Notable on that front is Bobby Simha as Ravana Pichai (why name a villain Ravanan and bring him from Lanka? Does it really have any significance?) growls and snarls effectively. He is a new and capable entrant into the list of actors in Tamil cinema who can play the ‘loud’ villain character without losing his balance. It is his menacing performance that makes the villain camp look threatening! We did notice one of the villain’s brothers sporting a Rajapakse-like costume. Is that a political statement?
The romance in Saamy is functional as usual. Keerthi Suresh has to fall in love with Vikram after seeing him bash up 5 bad guys (oh..what a novel idea!!). Her father doesn’t agree to their relationship at first, but relents later (Oh…how inventive!!), followed by the Metro Rail song in an unknown foreign location (phew..)! Aishwarya Rajesh has the tough job of convincing the audience that she is indeed Trisha!
Vikram overrides all these pitfalls and carries the film on his shoulders. He is excellent in action sequences. The action sequences themselves are the usual commercial kind with people flying around and bouncing off walls etc. One feels that the slow-motions in the fights got a bit overdone, we are not able to feel the pace and tension in the fight scenes for most parts because of that. And, even with Vikram using all his might to deliver them, some of the dialogues do look very outlandish. Hari also could have been careful in avoiding a repetition of his well-known gimmicks like screeching cars, shaking cameras etc.
A pretty good reprisal of the Saamy-Pichai rivalry, Vikram in terrific form and a cautiously treading Hari make Saamy 2 a decent watchable affair. If only they had been a bit more ruthless about leaving out the nonsensical comedy and a couple of unwanted songs, the film would have been a lot crisper and shorter by at least 15 minutes, which would have been a great relief. Even as it stands now, Saamy 2 has enough in it for hardcore action and Vikram fans.
TalksOfCinema Verdict : A good revenge drama, with Soori and songs playing dampeners!
TalksOfCinema Rating : 2.5/5
Saamy2 Movie Review Reflection