Kaleidoscope Entertainment P. Ltd.'s SAATHIYA,
directed by Shaad Ali, is a remake of Mani
Ratnam's ALAI PAYUTHE.
Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) meets Suhani (Rani
Mukherji), a medical student, at a wedding and
falls head over heels for her. He follows her
relentlessly in the local trains.
Suhani, who is a daughter of a simple railway
employee (Sharat Saxena-Tanuja), initially
brushes him off because she wants to become a
successful doctor and make her parents happy.
However, his persistence pays off and she
Only to be opposed by their parents. The couple
decides to part ways as she is determined not to
hurt her parents.
But they can't bear being separated, so they
finally come together and get married in secret.
Once they are married, their true story begins.
Suddenly it is not at all a happy journey. There
are misunderstandings and quarrels. So where do
they go from here?
The biggest problem with SAATHIYA lies in its
story itself. To state that it's as old as the
hills would be apt, since this theme – lovers
facing parental opposition – has been witnessed
with unfailing regularity since time immemorial.
The film starts off on an ordinary note and one
expects the story to gather momentum once the
protagonists fall in love. But nothing happens.
The film does pick up at the interval point when
the girl confesses to her parents that she is
already married, but post-interval, the writer (Mani
Ratnam) and director (Shaad Ali) seemed to have
taken the easy way out by relying on the tried
and tested stuff, instead of trying to come up
with something novel.
In the second half, the tiffs between the couple
are petty tiffs, not anything dramatic, which is
why the impact is not strong. The narrative
picks up again towards the pre-climax when Rani
meets with a car accident (by Tabu). But the
sequences thereafter move at such a lethargic
pace that it tests the patience of the viewer.
Another weak aspect of the film is that it has
no gloss absolutely. Set in a middle class
household, the story moves on an ordinary track
and those expecting bigness in terms of visuals
or production values will be thoroughly
Director Shaad Ali has tackled a few sequences
with maturity, but he should've opted for a
fresh story for his launch. Besides, the pace
drops alarmingly in the latter part of the
story, soon after the accident, which makes the
climax a long drawn affair.
Also, the guest appearances give the impression
that they have been added, perhaps, to enhance
the star appeal of the film. However, the star
presence does nothing to elevate the story or
the prospects of the film.
Shah Rukh Khan's role is something that could've
been portrayed by just about anyone. The
superstar hardly has any lines to deliver and
the length of his role is miniscule. It fails to
register any impact whatsoever. Ditto for a
talented name like Tabu, who has been wasted in
an insignificant role.
Mani Ratnam's script is old fashioned, with
nothing fresh to talk of. In today's times, when
Hindi cinema is going through a transition
phase, plots like these instantly remind you of
the social fares of 1970s and 1980s.
A.R. Rahman's music is melodious and easy on the
ears. The title track is the pick of the lot,
but the Shamita Shetty number can easily be
deleted, for it serves as a speed breaker in the
goings-on. Perhaps, even this song was added to
add spice to an otherwise drab story.
Cinematography [Anil Mehta] is wonderful.
Dialogues are well worded and some of them do
register an impact.
SAATHIYA clearly belongs to Vivek Oberoi, who
enacts his part with ?n. Enacting a role that is
in sharp contrast to his first two films, the
youngster comes up with a sparkling performance,
which is sure to multiply his fan following.
Rani Mukherji is efficient. She looks pretty and
does her part with conviction. Amongst character
artists, Sandhya Mridul, as Rani's elder sister,
is first-rate. Tanuja is just about okay. The
remaining names are mere gap fillers.
On the whole, SAATHIYA is too old fashioned a
fare, which will appeal to a select few at
metros mainly. In the face of a strong
opposition (KAANTE), the prospects of SAATHIYA