Cast: Sibiraj, Remya Nambeesan, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
Director: Pradeep Krishnamoorthy

After dabbling with a villain role, a horror-comedy and another comedy film, Sibiraj is back in a serious thriller after his Naaigal Jaakirathai days with Sathya, a remake of the Telugu hit Kshanam. What works for Sathya is the fact that they haven’t reworked the script in order to ‘suit the local sensibilities’, something a lot of remakes do which only leads to the original essence getting lost in translation. Sibi’s debut film Student Number 1, incidentally, is a classic example of this.

Sathya is about an NRI techie who gets a call from Swetha (Remya Nambeesan), his ex-girlfriend, saying that her daughter Riya has been kidnapped forcing Sathya (Sibi) to return to India, only to be confused by all the uncertainty that clouds the case. As the story is told from Sathya’s perspective, the audience too is mired in doubts as each sequence progresses and there is no dearth of twists and turns in this thriller.

Sibi looks his best with dense facial hair, and the tall actor pulls off the swag of an NRI thanks to his costumes, which include a collection of jackets and a dog tag. There is enough scope in the film for him to showcase his acting talents, and the actor aces the role by infusing his performance with subtlety. Remya scores as a helpless vulnerable mother and her romance portions with Sibi in the flashback sequences are delightful, too. Varu pulls off her role neatly, as does the rest of the cast; Yogi Babu, especially, who shines with his witty one-liners. In one particular sequence, he looks at Sibi and says, “nadikathey da” to which Sibi replies, “ennaku athu varathu.” Yogi retorts with a stone face “adhan oorukey theriyume“. The film is laced with many such one-liners, courtesy Anandraj and Satish, which intermittently evoke smiles in an otherwise serious film. It’s also refreshing to see Sathish used as an actor, for once, instead of just comic relief.

Director Pradeep Krishnamoorthy of Saithan fame has done the film a favour by sticking to the original script to the T. Though he has made a few minor changes to suit Sibi, be it the romance portions or the other flashback sequences, they rarely disrupt the flow of the story. The risky move of going with a not-so-familiar composer, Simon K King, has paid off well. The Yavvana single became a chart-buster when the album released, but my pick would be the fast-paced Sangu, which helps with the racy screenplay during the climax. It also adds just the right touch of heroism, which is otherwise, thankfully, kept to a bare minimum in the film. Simon has done a splendid job with the background score, too.

Pradeep has also chosen his cast wisely, and all his choices work for the most part. The reason I add that qualifier is because, the lack of importance given to one of the characters played by a popular actor throughout the film, made it pretty obvious that that character would have more to do than meets the eye by the end. The final reveal is just one too many, and isn’t completely convincing. However, Sathya is still an intelligently made thriller which will surely provide a much-needed break for Sibi, making it one of his best, if not, the best film in his career.

My rating: 3/5

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