2012 seems to be a year of movies that speak about the need to reform the education system. First came 'Nanban' and then followed 'Dhoni'. Now it is the turn of 'Saattai'.
'Saattai', directed by debutant M Anbhazhagan, speaks about the pitiable condition of primary education, especially in government schools.
The need to upgrade the knowledge of teachers, make them interact more with children and get to know their strength and weakness is what the movie is all about.
Though preachy at places, no doubt such movies are the need of the hour. Anbhazhagan seems to have done his home work right and had apparently been to several government schools, which face a stiff competition from many a private school.
He has tried to convey a strong moral that students need to be motivated, encouraged and it should be ensured that they learn in a way they like the most.
Dayalan (Samuthirakani) joins a government school in a village as teacher. The pitiable condition of education in such government schools worries him.
In the school, the teachers and students are like two rail tracks never meeting eye-to-eye. It bothers him more. The materialistic lives of the teachers play spoilsport on the children's motivation to learn.
Dayalan expresses his desire to set things right. As expected, he faces the wrath of teachers and the students too. However as things progress, he wins the confidence of students and head master Pandian (Junior Balaiyah).
He introduces novel methods, gives confidence to students and motivates them to evince keen interest in education. But he faces a huge hurdle in the form of assistant headmaster Singam Perumal (Thambi Ramaiah).
Anbhazhan's strong dialogues that take a dig at the system of education and the quality of teachers make it an interesting watch. The need of the hour is clearly understood by him. He has managed to blend entertainment well with a strong message. But there are some turns in the script that are far too predictable.
Imman's music lends support. The number 'Sahayane...' by Shreya Ghosal is nice to listen. Jeevan's camera captures the beauty of the village well. Newcomer Nirmal has handled the editing.
Samuthirakani lends grace to his role while Yuvan as a rough and tough student does a decent job. Swasika is bubbly. Three cheers to Thambi Ramaiah. His body language and dialogue delivery are perfect fit for the role.
Produced by Prabhu Solomon and John Max, 'Saattai' ends up a preachy tale and the dialogues go overboard at places.
But forget all for the noble intentions of the director, who in his very first film has touched a sensitive issue and come up trumps.