Isai Movie Review

Review Overview

Screenplay and Direction
Technical Aspects and BGM

A perfectly spiffing comeback!

Isai is an engaging musical drama featuring two mighty performances from Sathyaraj and SJ Suryah with memorable lines delivered by the former and a grossly gutsy attempt from the latter as a director.

Cast: SJ Suryah, Sathyaraj, Sulagna (Savithri), Kanja Karuppu, Thambi Ramaiah & others

Cinematography: Soundar Rajan

Music: SJ Suryah

Editing: Riyas

PRO: Johnson

Written & Directed by: SJ Suryah

Produced by: SS Productions 

Release Date: 30-01-2015

Run Time: 03:10:00 

After a nine-year sabbatical, SJ Suryah is making a comeback in direction with Isai which also marks the debut of his music composing stint. With Sathyaraj playing a pivotal role in this musical, how has Isai fared?

The movie, which is based on the rivalry between two musical legends, starts with a voice over of SJ Suryah narrating how legends make way for each other at various junctures in their respective fields. For generation takeovers, SJ Suryah quotes examples of MGR-Kalaignar, Kapil Dev-Gavaskar, Sachin-Dhoni, Ilaiyaraja-AR Rahman etc. This film is about music director Vetri Selvan, played by Sathyraj, who holds a strong foothold in the music industry for over 30 years. What happens when a budding young composer Shiva, played by SJ Suryah, takes his place in just 2 years of time? How will Vetri Selvan handle this overnight transformation where he has to give up his coveted numero uno position to a young composer? 

Vetri becomes so jealous of Shiva and even goes to an extent where he commands his servant, played by Ganja Karuppu, to not hum Shiva’s songs and instead orders him to sing his old compositions. Vetri, churned up by Shiva’s burgeoning growth, resides outside the village to stay detached from the people. Vetri is a green-eyed monster who wouldn’t battle an eyelid to even murder someone who has helped Shiva reach new heights in his career.

Shiva gets introduced to Jenny during his musical sojourn in a forest where he heads to record the sounds of nature. Then the story falters a little where the romance portions between Jenny and Shiva are in the ordinary course of events and drags the story. Sathyaraj’s way of torturing Ganja Karruppu with a pinch of hilariousness is an absolute scream. Watch out for the coffee scene in the first half. Sathyaraj devises a plan to outthrow SJ Suryah by making use of his short-tempered character, which sets the stage for the second half that is dominated by SJ Suryah’s brilliant performance. He scores with his acting in scenes where he gets annoyed with his staff for unmistakable happenings surrounding him in the second half.

There are quite a few logicless scenes in both the first half and second half which culminate into the climax, which is a gutsy attempt from SJ Suryah. However, the make or break of the film is in the audiences hands since the third-act is grossly unconventional which some would embrace and some would frown.

Sathyaraj’s menacing dialogue delivery and performance  is a delight to watch. SJ Suryah’s funny double entendre has found its place in this film too; he shines in his role as an emerging composer who hogs the limelight. Savithri also delivers a good performance and shares the screenspace mostly in the fag end of the second half. Soundararajan’s visuals, especially in the forest scenes in the first half, are so beautiful and dazzling. Dialogues, particularly the conversations involving Sathyaraj, warrants a definite mention. Sathyaraj has pitched some of the memorable lines in the film effortlessly. The background score is also commendable, considering this is SJ Suryah’s debut in composing. The length at 3 hours and 10 minutes is an open-and-shut worry for the audiences who would find it a bit difficult to sit through.

Overall, Isai is an engaging musical drama featuring two mighty performances from Sathyaraj and SJ Suryah with memorable lines delivered by the former. SJ Suryah makes a stellar comeback as a director after a nine-year absence in the industry.

Isai Movie Review Rating:  3.25/5

Written by Karthik Krishnaswamy