Sarbath Movie Review: Kathir, Soori shine in a simple, no-frills comfort film
Right from the first scene till the last, the filmmaker injects minimal doses of freshness every time a sense of deja vu seeps in
Two slaps. One results in love, the other in enmity. These two slaps form the crux of Kathir’s Sarbath. The first is when the heroine Aruna (Rahasya Gorak) smacks the living daylights out of Arivu (Kathir). The anger in Arivu’s eyes melts away when he sets sights on Aruna, and cue… background music by Ajeesh. It is love at first slap. I could practically feel my eyes hit the back of my head. Soon thereafter, comes the second slap. One that Anbu (Vivek Prasanna), Arivu’s brother receives. This sows the seeds of enmity between two families in Dindigul. What follows is a bundle of cliches, smartly subverted by debutant director Prabhakaran.
Cast: Kathir, Soori, Rahasya Gorak, Vivek Prasanna
Right from the first scene till the last, the filmmaker injects minimal doses of freshness every time a sense of deja vu seeps in. The presence of Soori is a strength for the film, and he is used not just for comic relief. He is as comfortable with his trademark one-liners as he is with adding heft to the emotional scenes. Full points to the writer for giving Soori’s character an actual job in this film. It is such nifty touches that elevate Sarbath.
Of course, we are subject to some generic proceedings, but the humour quotient is maintained thanks to Soori and Kathir’s comic timing. After Meyaadha Maan, Vivek Prasanna gets a decent character arc and a love story as Anbu, and it is for this story that Ajeesh reserves his best song. The central theme of Anbu’s track and even Sarbath, as a whole, was recently seen in another film, and it is impressive to see this theme treated with adequate sensitivity. Special mention to Ashvath, who plays the heroine’s brother. However, barring Indhumathi (Anbu and Arivu's mother), the women of this film receive the cold shoulder from the filmmaker. Rahasya, despite her impressive lipsync, isn’t given much to do. She only gets to react to the things happening around her in her name. Even in the Sundar C-esque climax, she is treated as an afterthought.
Sarbath is essentially a comedy of errors where no character gets a permanent respite. Just when things begin to go smoothly something crops up to derail their happiness, and watching them get their lives back on track does elicit a few chuckles here and there. This narrative suits the film perfectly because it is more about the gags rather than a strong plot.
The comedy, romance and family drama may not be particularly impressive, but it doesn’t matter because Prabhakaran and Co clearly didn’t set out to make a film for the ages. It is clear that the agenda was to make a sensible, sensitive, yet mainly, safe film. And to that end, despite the central theme bordering on blasphemy, it helps that the chosen path is one of humour, which is mostly neither offensive nor forced. Just like the raging summer is briefly forgotten while gulping down a chilled glass of sarbath, this Sarbath too offers a decent detour from the rigours of our life and harks back to a time when people entered a cinema hall to forget everything and laugh. In Sarbath, the cinema screen is replaced by our televisions, and while the laughs don’t always come… thankfully, the smiles stay long enough.