Cast: Arun Vijay, Palak Lalwani, Kaali Venkat
GNR Kumaravelan’s Sinam is somewhere between an emotional drama and an investigation thriller, which explores concepts of revenge and legal justice. The film follows the life of Pari Venkat (Arun Vijay), an honest cop who plays by the rules. But when certain events hit close to home, Pari is forced to choose revenge over law.
What Arun Vijay’s sub-inspector lacks in power and authority, he more than makes up for in his strengths. For instance, when he is forced to let go of criminals by a corrupt superior or when the latter puts his family in an unpleasant situation, Pari doesn’t back down. He continues to do what he thinks is right even if that means giving up the profession that he dearly loves.
The first half of the film takes its time to establish Pari’s family. We are introduced to his wife Madhangi played by Palak Lalwani and their daughter Bujji (Baby Desina). Kaali Venkat plays a constable, who also doubles up as Pari’s confidant. But when a case becomes personal, the duo goes on to investigate a double homicide, which forms the later part of the film.
Filmmaker Kumaravelan uses clever techniques to draw us closer to the film’s universe. This is apparent in a scene where Pari and Madhangi recite bedtime stories to their daughter. Pari starts off by telling a story of a butterfly and dragonfly, but the tale seamlessly transcends the viewers to an adorable flashback of their love story. And smartly enough, this story technique also ends up being a major clue in the film later on.
Although the lead pair’s meet-cute scenes are riddled with cliches, it works to an extent, thanks to the chemistry between Arun Vijay and Lalwani. But the first half lingers a little too much on Pari’s family life, dragging the pace. The songs, too, add to the film’s slow screenplay and work only in parts. The background score often gets louder and obvious, often taking away from a scene’s thrill.
Although Sinam fits perfectly within the regular cop-movie template in Kollywood, it manages to get creative with the way it handles the double homicide. However, the same cannot be said of the rest of the film and its treatment. In addition, the melodramatic sequences towards the interval interspersed with flashback cuts, which should have been the film’s biggest strength, feel forced.
But giving stability to the film, even in its unsound parts, is Arun Vijay, who seems to be at ease playing a cop. Even when the film gets monotonous, his performance in both the emotional and investigative scenes keep you invested. It goes without saying that he excels in the film’s action sequences. Lalwani, too, gives her best in her limited screen time. Kaali Venkat is a breath of fresh air in a film that depicts a lovely friendship between the two men in khaki.
Towards the end, the film does get a bit preachy – a trait that often comes with films in the genre. While its intentions are quite laudable, the fact that its hero cop opts for the tired old path of revenge rather than justice, makes us question the film’s take on retribution. But irrespective of these flaws, its wonderful performances are what make Sinam a decent cop drama.