Isai Review – Ambitious Drama !
First the good news !!! S.J.Suryah hasn’t lost his touch. Throughout Isai that runs for an astounding 3 hours and 10 minutes his trademark is stamped with assurance.
Revisiting his Kushi days ‘Isai’ also has the director revealing the crux of the story at the very beginning. Those who have been following film scoops and Isai’s trailer would know that the film is about an ageing music director who is unable to come to terms with the success of his assistant.
While there is a feel that he might be overconfident you must hand it over to this man. He has a definite panache and he leaves his stamp in all the three departments – direction, acting and music. Coming to the department that is his latest addition, he has done a neat job with the songs. Without any prejudice or a soft corner that he is not a trained musician, the songs in Isai are genuinely hummable. The actor in him who sports a confused look with his unique mannerisms that found favour with the audience a few years back is also well intact.
As a filmmaker Isai brings to the forefront the strongpoints of S.J.Suryah. The central line of his films always revolves around human emotions. Even Kushi which might look like a routine love story on the surface dealt with the complex ego clashes between the lead pair. Here too it is the conflict between VetriSelvan (Sathyaraj) and A.K.Shiva (S.J.Suryah). Despite the numerous questions we have with the way the conflict has been dealt with, the drama works well for the most part thanks to the ease with which Sathyaraj carries his villainy. He seems to have relished this opportunity and has gone all out and seems to have had a ball.
You expect this from S.J.Suryah. A lot of things in Isai starting from the duration reflect this. The track between him and newcomer Savithri in the first half is a little tough to be called a romantic one. It almost entirely hinges on physical intimacy and has all the ingredients you would expect from our man. Be it romance, comedy or even emotion. There is a common thread in all these scenes which is the heroine baring her midriff. There is another major question that keeps running in your mind. While the voice over in the starting credits promised the film is about how legends turn jealous when they lose their stronghold, the film does not hinge on this clearly. It does not show Sathyaraj’s character as grey and paints him dark black. He is shown to behave like this even in his peak in the flashback portions. So this turns into a typical hero vs villain clash and not something we saw in a film like Aadukalam. The climax is bound to leave polarized views. We cannot be sure whether S.J.Suryah had this in mind from the beginning or it came as an afterthought. But the last few minutes are rushed that you feel it is more like an excuse from the maker as he was not really sure on how to end the conflict between his central characters. But this climax also cleverly puts all the logical questions that we had to rest.
Isai has enough moments in it to keep us hooked. A mixture of drama, thriller and some whacky thinking, Isai is a worthy attempt.