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The filmmaker speaks about her husband Selvaraghavan’s role in Saani Kaayidham and why she thinks the film doesn’t glorify violence
Last Updated: 04.36 AM, Jun 01, 2022
There is no doubt that Gitanjali Selvaraghavan is an avid Selva fan. Selvaraghavan is not just a director she admires, but he is also an actor she is proud of—considering he has been receiving accolades for a layered role like Sangaiah in Saani Kaayidham (streaming on Amazon Prime Video). “I knew the movie would work with the audience, even before its release. Arun Matheswaran's work completely blew my mind,” she tells OTTplay.
When Gitanjali told Selvaraghavan that she was impressed by his performance, his immediate reaction was “kaaiku thann kunju, pon kunju!” She says with a smile, “I saw everyone tag Selva on Twitter, but he never took those initial reviews seriously. By the next morning, both of us were taken by a sweet surprise. We were overwhelmed by the love that people showered upon us, for which we will be grateful.”
Gitanjali couldn't stop praising Keerthy Suresh. “She was brilliant in the film. I wouldn't be surprised if Saani Kaayidham would fetch her the National Award. She's deserving of every accolade that comes her way.”
With the business of entertainment thriving on emotional violence, what does she have to say about the criticism Saani Kaayidham had been receiving? “I felt it was more like a catharsis. The blood and gore were largely justified—dramatically and morally. The film was a poignant human story. Provided, it served the purpose. The situation not only depicted reality but also made strong socio-political comments,” Gitanjali notes.
Further, she says, Arun Matheswaran had the vision to communicate the story in the way he believed in, which was superbly complemented by Yamini Yagnamurthy's camera skills. “He had a deeper insight and understanding of the issue we discussed in Saani Kaayidham.”
Our conversation veers to Selvaraghavan again. “I liked how Arun Matheswaran established the opening scene in Saani Kaayidham with Selva's character lighting the cigarette in a dark space,” she says.
After a pause, she adds, “It was powerful. I equally liked the scene where Selva's character broke down after fire engulfed Ponni's hut. It was gut-wrenching. Selva must have felt the same way because we have got a daughter of Dhanam's age... (The little girl's character, who gets killed.) That moment would have hit him quite hard, I am sure!”
Gitanjali quickly recalls how her 80-year-old grandmother loved Saani Kaayidham. “She is a gentle soul. For someone who abhors violence, she couldn't take her eyes off Ponni and Sangaiah. She was rooting for both the characters. Her eyes gleamed with enthusiasm. In fact, by the end of the film, she told me every rapist in the prison should be made to watch this, on loop. Saani Kaayidham is sheer poetry. I loved the film; so did everyone I had spoken to.”
Does Selvaraghavan bring his characters home? “Not even once I remember seeing Sangaiah coming in; it was just Selva,” she grins and signs off.