“Sigai”… A missing-person mystery gets an evocative start, but the underwhelming resolution is a bummer

Posted on January 9, 2019

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/sigai-movie-review-kathir-zee5-jagadeesan-subu-riythvika/

Sigai (Hair), now streaming on Zee5, gives you two stories for the price of one movie. The first one begins with scenes of a Chennai night. Crowds swarm the Marina beach. Traffic chokes the roads. Beggars lie on the sides of streets. Commuters chug homewards on local trains. In the midst of this hubbub (and elsewhere), there’s the hint of another world, a different world. The flashing lights of a cop car. A funeral procession. A mother’s call to her son. The latter brings to focus the protagonist, Prasad (Raj Barath), who’s a pimp. The call arrives when he’s talking to one of his sex workers. Talk about two worlds colliding. With the mother, he’s a son. With the sex worker, he’s a hardened businessman. She looks at the money he hands over and remarks that the amount keeps decreasing. He replies, without pausing a beat, that her age is increasing.

The plot — or rather, Story 1 — gets going when a new client calls Prasad. He needs someone for the night, and the writer-director Jagadeesan Subu gives us a glimpse of this underworld. Prasad calls “Chetta” (Rajesh Sarma), a Malayali colleague whose address book is filled with names written in his language. It’s a small touch that confers a human shade on a one-note character. Sigai is filled with these touches, which elevate other small characters: Nimmi’s negligent mother (who’s scared of her), a wife who hits upon a novel way to get back at a cheating husband, a sex worker who doesn’t mind being hurt as long as the money keeps coming in, or even the old man fond of inflicting cigarette burns on the women he hires for the night. I especially liked the scene where Nimmi (Meera Nair), the sex worker whom Prasad will end up recruiting that night, looks at a programme on TV, and the host goes on about how men get more attractive after their forties, while women peak in their thirties. The casual misogyny echoes what Prasad told the other sex worker earlier.

Continued at the link above.

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