Sila Samayangalil, directed by veteran filmmaker Priyadarshan, is an AIDS awareness film featuring Prakash Raj, Ashok Selvan and Sriya Reddy in the lead roles. The film also has a technical crew comprising A-listers like composer Ilayaraja, dialogue writer A.L.Vijay and cinematographer Sameer Thahir. This niche film has been thoughtfully released directly on Netflix and its theatrical release plans haven’t been firmed up yet.
Plot: Seven people from various walks of life are at a medical test lab to get checked for AIDS. They have to wait till 5 in the evening to get their test results. As they wait anxiously, we are told their individual life stories through conversations between the lead characters.
– Ashok Selvan’s performance is subtle and realistic. It looks like he is just being himself in most of the scenes. He breaks the ice among the characters and drives them to speak about their respective problems.
– Ace actor Prakash Raj plays his part with great ease. He single-handedly holds the film’s melodramatic final sequence.
– Sriya Reddy gets a key role as an employee at the test lab, who has a desperate cash crunch and a big family to run. She plays her role assertively.
– Ilayaraja’s background score never dominates the proceedings (except the final sequence) and is soothing. There are no songs!
– We are fed a lot of thought-provoking information about AIDS, the testing process, the symptoms, the people who are most vulnerable to it and the social stigma surrounding it.
– The entire crew (producers, actors, crew) deserve to be appreciated for taking part in a sensitive, relevant, non-commercial awareness film such as this.
– The film is slow-paced and repetitive in the beginning. It takes a while to warm up to the proceedings.
– The melodramatic ending seems forced to gain audience sympathy.