Saivam: A Vague movie on Vegetarianism

‘Vegetarianism’ is something always talked about from the health point of view in many countries nowadays and also from the angle of kindness to animals. In India, as usual, it has multifold manifestations; on one side we will be preaching nonviolence and on the other side violence will be perpetrated at its worst kind. ‘Ahimsa’ preached by the saints and Gandhi doesn’t draw water when it comes to the question of rituals especially in the South. Some of the ferocious Gods and Goddesses can be appeased only by the slaughter hapless animals like rooster and goat in the name of propitiating the favor of the Almighty.
Vijay, a fairly new director in Tamil had surprisingly written and directed and released a Tamil movie titled ‘Saivam’ (Vegetarianism); adding to further wonder, there are no big stars (off late Tamil movies are made and enacted by novices only is a different question!) except Nasser.
The movie is about a rich family down south which gets united for the festivity of temple. Indeed, there are small and big problems for the members of the family, like one doesn’t get a tender he expects, a daughter is without child after three years of marriage, the son-in-law in Dubai has a job which is unstable etc.
The patriarch Kathiresan (Nasser) is advised by the village priest that they have not sacrificed the rooster to the guarding deity of the village that was promised when the entire family escaped from a terrifying accident three years before. He warns unless it is done, the problems will only multiply.
The entire family feels that the rooster which has been grown in the house for this purpose has to be sacrificed to save them of their miseries, except one; the little granddaughter Tamizh (Sara) whose pet is the rooster. Knowing the rooster is going to be slaughtered, Tamizh hides it in the attic of the palatial house. The frantic search and the climax form the rest of the story.
The story line is good; but the climax is not properly staged. When everyone all of a sudden tries to safeguard Tamizh looks artificial. On the moment of slaughter the patriarch changes his mind and in the next scene he informs the priest that the entire family has changed to vegetarianism.
A few years back in Tamil Nadu, the then CM announced that in all temples the slaughter of animals should be banned. There was big opposition and demos which made the order to be withdrawn hastily. In the same manner even now the dispute on the famous ‘Jallikattu’ in the South keeps drawing comments on the judgment that it is considered cruelty to animals.
Man is the cruelest animal. In India it is also intertwined with religious faiths and sacrifices for favors and lucks. In other countries in the world animals are slaughtered for meat; but in India they are slaughtered for giving a ‘treat’ to God. Such is the hypocrisy!
Such movies may receive critical appreciation from a section of the society. But, once again it goes as an entertainment only!


More by :  G Swaminathan

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