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Yaathisai Review: Dharani Rasendran manages to impress with a hard-hitting take on kingship and authority

Kodhi of Eyinar clan, who have been forced to live as nomads by the Pandiyas, is on a quest to regain the respect and authority for the tribe

Yaathisai Review: Dharani Rasendran manages to impress with a hard-hitting take on kingship and authority
A poster of Yaathisai

Last Updated: 02.35 PM, Feb 26, 2024


Synopsis: Yaathisai, a film doled out by a bunch of newcomers, is a compelling take on powerplay and the lust for authority. 

Review: With Dharani Rasendran's historical fiction Yaathisai hitting screens exactly a week before Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan 2, one cannot help but draw comparisons with the latter. Yaathisai may not have the sophisticated finesse of Mani Ratnam film, but it does manage to impress.

The plot revolves around the nomadic tribe Eyinars, who are gearing up to take over the powerful and undefeated Pandiya king Ranadheeran (Shakthi Mithran) with Kodhi (Seyon) at the helm. The story is set in the 7th century when Ranadheeran is the numero uno among kings after having defeated the Cholas and forcing their people to live in the woods.

What makes Yaathisai different from the other films on kings and their empires is that Rasendran's film doesn't extol the virtues or the valour of rulers. In fact, it takes a hard-hitting stand on authority, and how the lust for power and authority is disguised in the name of land, people, rights and virtue. The story revolves around powerplay and how it can transform men into beasts, which put many innocent lives at stake.

This is quite evident in a number of scenes, including the one where a Devaradiyar (who are considered to be married to god) says that it's the common people like her who are tossed around in the game of thrones. Kodhi then tells her that only their forms change, but their lust for authority is eternal. There is also a scene where Ranadheeran, while making love to his newly-married partner, tells her that he is doing it solely to exert his authority over her and not out of passion.

While the Eyinar clan is shown as the oppressed side, it's interesting how things quickly change when Kodhi (Shakthi Mithran) gets the taste of power. He proves that he is no different from those whom he was fighting against all this while. But by the time, he comes out of the vicious vortex of authority, he realises that he is in trouble.

The war scenes in the film draw a pretty grim picture of the battlefield. Unlike the other films that display the grandeur of war, here we get to see only a small pack of people at a time and hence, we witness the bloodbath in all its gore and rawness. Some of the lengthy battle scenes could have been trimmed a tad bit but one has to admit that they don't really get boring to the point where you are forced to pick your phone. The duel scene keeps you glued to your seats.

The film uses the dialect from the 7th century and it takes some time to warm up and get used to the conversations on screen. The team has indeed done a lot of research for the film, right from the dialects, to the attires and art direction,and they deserve a huge kudos for the same.

Considering the film is Rasendran's maiden historical fiction, the director has come out with all guns blazing. The star cast has come up with some fantastic performances and it doesn't really seem like you are watching a bunch of newcomers on screen. Akilesh Kathamuthu's cinematography and the VFX team are a huge plus.

Though Dharani Rasendran has provided ample screen space for his supporting cast as well, the characters, after a point of time, do not really touch our hearts. A couple of CG work, too, look a tad amateurish. After setting up an interesting premise before the interval, the film loses a bit of steam in the second half. If you can overlook these aspects,Yaathisai hits the nail on the head.

Verdict: Dharani Rasendran's Yaathisai is a no holds barred take on how the lust for power and authority is a craving that cannot be satiated easily. Coming from a bunch of newcomers, this film surely deserves a watch.


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