Review: Seethakathi – Not your regular cinema

Apparently worried at dwindling crowds for stage plays in today’s fast-changing world, filmmaker Balaji Tharanitharan has come out with Seethakathi. And no better actor than Vijay Sethupathi to play the lead.

An ode to theatre artistes, it is strikingly different from the run-of-the-mill stuff here.

The filmmaker has made sure it is loaded heavily with melo-dramatic sequences for it speaks about stage artistes.

In a nutshell, Seethakathi is about a veteran drama actor, whose only passion is to perform before a packed audience. He loses hope as sabhas one after another get shut and hardly a dozen turn up to watch stage plays. What happens when he forays to cinema then? Interestingly his venture to big screen is narrated in an interesting and intriguing way.

As the screen goes up, the audience are taken to stage plays. Vijay sethupathi as Ayya performs in various stages across the eras.

The twist in the tale is Ayya for whom stage is life, suddenly ventures to ‘acting’ in cinema. But when he is taken for a ride by a producer-actor, Ayya ‘disappears’.

It is purely a director’s film. Balaji has come up with a unique concept and packed with emotional moments followed by light-hearted sequences now and then.

The movie speaks bare truth about hero worship in industry too. May be one call it a picture in picture. And it proceeds at its own pace with some funny one-liners in between that keep the whole show going.

And coming to the cast, Vijay Sethupathi is no doubt having a purple patch in Kollywood. Known for choosing his roles well, he gets under the skin of Ayya to play a disappointed, disgruntled and helpless 80-year-old drama actor witnessing the death of theatre.

And matching him on screen is Mouli. Being a theatre artiste himself, Mouli seems to relate more with his character to come up with a convincing show. National award winning actress Archana is back after a break to play Ayya’s wife.

If Balaji and Vijay Sethupathi came together to render a black comedy in Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kanom, in Seethkathi they have traversed a different journey – A path of self introspection.

Kudos to the filmmaker for making no compromise. And if you are a connoisseur of artsy film and don’t bother about its pace (the film runs for 2 hours and 52 minutes), Seethakathi is yours.

M BHARAT KUMAR