Review Tamil

Seethakathi review: Moving yet entertaining meta film on art and artistes

Release Date: 20 Dec 2018 / Rated: U / 02hr 53min

Cinestaan Rating

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Karthik Kumar

The film works in mysterious ways and takes a very unconventional route to make its point.

Balaji Tharaneetharan's Seethakathi, starring Vijay Sethupathi and Parvatii Nair, pays rich tributes to the works of a theatre veteran. The film is both a satire and an endearing drama on art and how it is losing its prominence with cinema becoming the popular choice of entertainment. Seethakathi, in the most moving and yet entertaining fashion, reminds us that it is still possible to respect and celebrate art, without degrading it, through cinema.

The story revolves around theatre veteran Ayya Adhimoolam (Vijay Sethupathi), who had dedicated his life to the dramatics. He had refused offers to act in films all his life, but finally decides to take the plunge and what follows forms the crux of the film. Built on a quirky conundrum, Seethakathi deserves to be celebrated even if it takes time – a good 40 minutes – to warm up and really make sense of the meta angle. But the film makes up for its terribly slow start with a rip-roaring dark-comedy segment that brings down the roof on many occasions.

It’s really brave of Sethupathi to pick Seethakathi as his 25th film as it features him merely for 40 minutes of the running time. Even in his limited screen space, the actor leaves us in awe with his restrained performance as Ayya Adhimoolam, essaying the character with the kind of versatility most of his contemporaries lack, especially the gravitas with which he plays the 70-plus character.

Balaji Tharaneetharan shot to fame with the quirky Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (2012), which had also starred Sethupathi in a memorable role. Tharaneetharan ventures into an even quirkier zone with his choice of actors in Seethakathi, which is both artsy and eccentric in many ways. First-time actor Sunil Reddy plays a producer-cum-actor whose role stands testimonial to many stars who want films to be made in a certain way and the portion featuring Reddy is an absolute laugh riot.

Seethakathi works in mysterious ways and takes a very unconventional route to make its point. If one can sit patiently through the first 40 minutes without getting judgmental, the film works as a beautiful meta story on art, stardom and fandom.

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