Simply put, Saani Kaayidham is the movie representation for the proverbs ‘Tit for Tat’ and ‘An eye for an eye’. Is it the right thing to do? No. But do you empathize and feel the survivor’s horrific pain? Hell, yes!
The story revolves around Ponni (Keerthy Suresh) and her half-sibling Sangaiyah (Selvaraghavan) who are traumatized beyond measure due to an unjust tragic event. They seek revenge by recreating the hell for those who pushed them into one. The initially bruised brother-sister relationship evolves over time brilliantly to leave a lasting impact in the audience’s hearts.
The film shows how those in positions of power can destroy the lives of people from economically and socially backward communities, simply because their castiest egos and their status pride are pricked when the latter chooses to exercise their self respect.
Saani Kaayidham also delves deeper into how when men face humiliation and fight in their own worlds, it always boils down to hurting the women in their lives.
One might ask, “Can films that show such brutality and violence, be shot, edited and scored, door-delivering the pain from the screen to your hearts, without compromising on the visual aesthetics and brilliance?” Well, cinematographer Yamini Yagnamurthy, editor Nagooran Ramachandran, and music composer Sam CS do that for you.
The lead actors Keerthy Suresh and Selvaraghavan excel in balancing both rage and grief. There are solid sequences for both the actors to perform in the blood soaked tale of vengeance.
Compartmentalised into chapters, the narration of Saani Kaayidham is non-linear, letting you experience the film as a visual novel.
Though the tragedy is brutal and painful which are perfectly conveyed as dialogues and visual sequences, the flashes of Ponni’s husband and kid are not powerful enough to feel her loss. One of the major reasons is also because of the lack of happy moments as a family and the missed chance to depict the depth in their relationship before the tragic event.
When Ponni asks one of the misogynistic villains, “Potta na avlo kevalama?” (Is it such a shame to be a woman?), she stands tall for speaking up for the community. However, ironically, she too can be seen constantly using another cuss word in the film that demeans women.
What does not sit quite well is that Ponni and Sangaiyah see no hurdles at all when they are executing their ‘enemies to kill’ checklist. The physically naïve Sangaiah who fell down for a couple of punches at the film's start, all of a sudden, singlehandedly hits a bunch of goons at the end of the film which does not come across as believable at some level.
However, the best thing about Saani Kaayidham is that it dealt with the gruesome violence in Ponni’s life, translating the tragic pain on screen by focusing on the abusers, their perversities, egos and brutality instead of getting into the graphic details of the abuse ensuring the dignity for the survivor.
Saani Kaayidham is not for all, especially not for those who are faint hearted. It is a cold blooded revenge drama that will stain your heart with pain. The film directed by Arun Matheswaran is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.