Sei Review: A film with 'Sei'zable problems
The film that could've taken the serious path, but just like its hero who takes the ambulance into unknown terrains, Sei takes a difficult turn and we end up getting lost in the middle of nowhere
At the heart of it, Sei is meant to be a serious whodunit that revolves around the death of innocent mentally challenged asylum patients. But debutant director Raj Babu opts for a laid-back approach and the film 'follows' the trials and tribulations of its lead, Saravedi Saravanan (Nakkhul).
Cast: Nakkhul, Aanchal Munjal, Nasser, Prakash Raj
Director: Raj Babu
Keeping in tradition with Tamil film protagonists, Saravanan is a jobless youth who hangs around with his friends conning people to make easy bucks with dreams of making it big in the film industry. I stressed the word 'follow' earlier because that's what the film's female lead, Neena (Aanchal Munjal) does throughout the film. Of course, in such scenarios, shouldn't there be a heroine to make sure our hero follows a righteous path to become a better person?
Remember Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga, Thirudan Police and Ratsasan where the lead gets the job of their father because they passed away? Sei follows that too, but here, Saravanan willingly takes over the mantle after his ambulance-driving father becomes sick. But that's where the trouble starts for our hero, and in a way, for the audience as well. For a film that literally starts with a bang (the first shot is that of an explosion), it never captivates, and what we get for the majority of the first half is the glorification of an annoyingly eccentric Saravanan. In the name of establishing him as a wannabe actor, we're left to watch street shops having Saravanan's image in the name board. He even tries to go fight with a kid who takes a leak on a hoarding having his face.
After stretching this bit for the entirety of the first hour, when the film actually tries to get going, we're already tired with what we've seen. That's because, by then, we're already exposed to other characters who come in handy only in the second half. And of course, there are the misplaced songs. What's with the instrumental track for Chandrika Ravi which, I assume, is meant to be an actual song that wasn't used for a reason?
Considering that a vital piece of information stored on a mobile phone is the reason why Saravanan lands in a soup, this film reminded me of Billa where information on a pen drive drives the story. When will directors stop underestimating the intelligence of the audience? Can't digital information be sent across online instead of making a film on a person trying with all his might to deliver the physical copy?
If one has to point out any positives in Sei, it would have to be the fast cuts and good camera work. The background score too is decent. Attention to minute details such as the watermark of the TV channel's name while showing the news coverage and broken glasses that lie inside the ambulance throughout the film after getting shattered during the intermission fight, make us wonder why the same attention wasn't paid to the screenplay. On the whole, Sei is a film that could've taken the serious path, but just like its hero who takes the ambulance into unknown terrains, the film too takes a difficult turn and we end up getting lost in the middle of nowhere wondering why we got into this ride in the first place.