Director Sathya Siva’s previous film Kazhugu narrated the tale of a man who earned a living by retrieving bodies from the suicide point of a hill station. The film told a story not often heard in Tamil cinema. With well-sketched characterization, and a solid plot, Sathya Siva made an impression with Kazhugu. In 2015, he returns with his ambitious film, Sivappu. With a novel plot and memorable characters, this film creates an impression. However, the treatment of his film is long and preachy.
Over the decade, filmmakers have tried to make films highlighting the lives of Sri Lankan refugees. Be it Mani Ratnam’s Kannathil Muthamittal that threw light on an adopted Sri Lankan-Tamil child, or Santhosh Sivan’s Inam, which featured the struggles of Tamils in the war-hit zone; both films seemed to inform and educate the viewer. Not to forget the accolades these films received from the critics. Director Sathya Siva tries to work on a similar plot with Sivappu. The film captures the hardships faced by Sri Lankan refuges who work as construction workers in Tamil Nadu.
A sensitive plot like this deserves a narrative that is relevant and powerful without hurting the sentiments of the people. And, Sivappu does just that. Just like his previous film, Sathya Siva sketches his characters such that you can’t help but feel for them. The way we are introduced to the everyday hardships faced by the refugees, makes one ponder. You begin to question the concepts of a motherland and nativity.
The film focuses on a love story, which intertwines with the main plot. And, perhaps here’s it falters. By the end of the movie, the two parallel themes don’t connect. The songs featured in the film break the heavy narrative and try to mellow the script down. Considering the sensitive issue it tackles, these songs could’ve been done without. One of the many noteworthy points are the performances by the artists including characters who only have brief roles to play. The well-done Sri Lankan accent adds authenticity to the story.
Rupa Manjari’s de-glam avatar works well for her character. She delivers a subtle performance. Naveen Chandran (who was last seen in Sarabham) also does a good job. The one actor though who is very moving with his performance is Raj Kiran. He strives hard to support the rights of the refugees and delivers a convincing performance doing so.
Technically, the cinematography by National award-winner Madhu Ambat is truly commendable. The dull colour scheme adopted adds a gritty and earthy tone to the film.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
This film highlights the plight of Sri Lankan refugees in India and is sure to move the viewer and make him aware. Raj Kiran’s striking performance is another highlight of this film.