Chennai, 10 Jun 2017 16:50 IST
Director SR Prabhakaran's Sathriyan has nothing in common with Vijayakanth's classic hit of the same name that took the film industry by storm in 1990.
SR Prabhakaran's Sathriyan tells the story of two gangs and their leaders who are constantly at war to gain control over the small town of Trichy.
Samudram (Sharath Lohitashwa) is a feared gangster and loving father. While the world knows who he is and fears him, his children, Niranjana (Manjima Mohan) and Soundararaja, have no idea their dad is an outlaw.
Samudram's arch rival is Manapparai Sankar (Arul Dass), a man who is awaiting an opportunity to establish himself as the most powerful man in Trichy. That opportunity is presented to him by a corrupt politician, who tricks Samudram into coming alone to a desolate spot. Sankar kills Samudram to emerge as Trichy's most feared gangster.
Meanwhile, Samudram's second-in-command Ravi (Vijay Murugan) takes over as head of the gang. He has a trusted lieutanant in Guna (Vikram Prabhu), whom he considers his younger brother. One other quality of Ravi that stands out is that he is intensely loyal to Samudram. In fact, so loyal is he that even after Samudram's death, he considers it his responsibility to take care of Samudram's family.
Normalcy returns after Samudram's death and life seems to be settling down.
One day, Niranjana finds herself being harassed by a bunch of rowdies on her way to college. She hopes the harassment is a passing phase. But when it doesn't stop, she draws her mother's attention to the problem. In turn, her mother apprises Ravi of the problem. Ravi, who is indebted to his former head, assigns the task of protecting the girl to Guna.
Niranjana takes a liking to Guna, who turns into her bodyguard. Eventually, she falls in love with him. He, however, has ambitions of becoming the most powerful gangster and, therefore, turns her marriage proposal down.
However, the girl persists and makes him see reason. Eventually, he, too, falls in love with her, much to the dismay of Ravi, who thinks it is unethical for one of his men to fall in love with the daughter of his former boss.
Guna's ambition changes from becoming the most powerful gangster in Trichy to leading a happy life with Niranjana. At this point, Sankar, who is aware that Guna is Ravi's biggest strength, decides to kill him. He plans an attack on Guna but gets killed by him instead. Now Sankar's gang is baying for Guna's blood.
Guna's troubles mount as he not only faces a threat from Sankar's gang, but also from his own chief, Ravi, who is displeased that he has chosen to lead a life of domesticity with Niranjana. How the young couple deals with two gangs out to get them forms the crux of Sathriyan's plot.
The film has a solid message, that a man's strength lies not in his ability to instil fear in the hearts of others but in the good name he earns and the respect people offer him after his death. Just for this message, the film wins brownie points.
The film has some scintillating music by Yuvan Shankar Raja. But for an item number, the film's songs and background music are quite good. Sivakumar Vijayan's camera does a fantastic job capturing the beauty of Trichy.
Manjima Mohan and Vikram Prabhu play their parts to perfection. Manjima, in particular, has come a long way from where she was in Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada (2016). She does an exceptionally good job with the character of Niranjana and is cute in the romantic portions.
Vikram Prabhu, for his part, delivers a performance that can best be described as apt. Not a shade more, nor a shade less, Vikram's expressions for most part of the film are just perfect. His body language, tone, tenor and expressions go a long way in breathing life into the script.
Three other fantastic performances in this film need to be noted. One is from Arul Dass, who, as ever, plays his part with conviction. As Manapparai Sankar, he is menacing and desperate. The other two strong performances come from Vijay Murugan as Ravi and Soundararaja, who plays Niranjana's brother.
The biggest problem with the film, however, is that not all characters are convincing. Therefore, as a viewer, one is unable to relate to the story. The strange manner in which Tamil is spoken in certain places, particularly at the start of the film, doesn't help. To be precise, the Tamil spoken in portions involving Taara and Sharath Lohitashwa gives away their unfamiliarity with the language. This, indirectly, has a bearing on the authenticity of the tale.
Next, the film has certain characters who have either been grossly underused or weren't required. A case in point would be Yogi Babu's character. Yogi appears in just two scenes and then disappears forever from the film. Similar is the case with Aishwarya Dutta's character.
Despite a reasonably good plot, the film isn't convincing as it has an element of artificiality to it. On the whole, Sathriyan fails to impress.