Dharani Rasendran’s impressive ‘Yaathisai’ is a richly imagined slice of historical fiction about brutal wars and the male psyche

Posted on April 19, 2023


Spoilers ahead…

Instead of the spectacle of cinema, we get the ethnographic feel of a National Geographic documentary. The film feels like a time machine that takes us to a strange world.


The broad storyline of Yaathisai, set in the 7th century, is as narrow as possible – I mean, as tightly focused as possible. The Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas are fighting. The wars go on and on until the Pandiyas drive the Cholas into hiding, a plot point that gave birth to Selvaraghavan’s Aayirathil Oruvan. The Cheras, meanwhile, are sold off as slaves, and they remain mostly off-screen – the few shots of them hint at a sequel. So with the Pandiyas on top, you expect the Cholas to regroup and fight back, but what happens is something very interesting: the first half of the film sets us amidst a completely different people, a sub-clan, a tribe named the “Ainar”. They live an aboriginal, nomadic, almost hunter-gatherer kind of life in the drylands, and at least one man, Kothi (Seyon), dreams of bigger, better things.  His birth is described by a narrator as something momentous, as though Nature herself willed this human being into existence.

You can read the rest of the review here:


And you can watch the video review here:

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil