Saithan movie cast: Vijay Antony, Arundathi Nair
Saithan movie director: Pradeep Krishnamoorthy
If a horror film has to work, it has to either rely on either science or paranormal to explain the supernatural happenings that the audience sees during its course. However, it is strange when a film which is touted as a psychological thriller tries to blame one as the definitive reason for the other. And that, probably, is the reason why Saithan (Bhethaludu in Telugu) fails to grip the audience.
Drawn from the pages of Tamil novel Aaah by Sujatha Rangarajan, Saithan’s narrative builds up momentum in the beginning but falters midway and ends up as a sketchy mess. The film starts with a hypnotherapist examining his patient, Dinesh (Vijay Antony), who reveals he hears voices and sees “stuff”. Get ready to be spooked by brilliant horror accentuated by the well-rendered background music. But soon, the first impact wears off and the horror factor goes down tremendously.
The fact that the ‘voices’ that Dinesh encounters are shown in the done-to-death ‘Ring’ format of a scary ghost with its hands sticking out of TV is also a stretch. Though the format is cliched, Vijay puts up a good show as he is practically driven mad by the voices and hallucinations in the beginning.
There is a major plot twist at the interval, which explains the voices and adds another layer to the plot. So far so good as the suspense comes to an end and there is something new that we can chew in during the second half. But where the film fails is to give the narrative coherence and join the two plots together. The narrative goes haywire as the concept jumps from past life crisis to a corrupt doctor carrying out illegal drug trials on humans. Dinesh is reduced to nothing more than a lab rat who loses touch with reality.
Watch | Saithan movie official trailer
The director’s inability to mould the first half artfully so that post-interval the film seems like a natural progression is my one big grouse with the film. The shift in the narrative throws cold water on the entire film. Also, with the lack of any substantial supporting roles, the onus of driving the plot remains entirely on Vijay’s shoulders. Despite the actor’s efforts, the film falters and just refuses to move thanks to a feckless script.