Appa Movie Review: Samuthirakani

Director: Samuthirakani
Cast: Samuthirakani, Thambi Ramaiah, Namo Narayana, Vignesh

Tamil cinema is usually high on content, but often low on form, and Samuthirakani’s Appa (Father) is a classic example of this. The film, which has also been written by Samuthirakani, has an important message, though not entirely unstated in the world of cinema.

Samuthirakani, who wears a third hat in the movie, that of the lead performer, a father called Dayalan, says that it is unfair for parents to impose their sense of life on their children. There is no point in reliving our lives through our sons and daughters, who may well have their own dreams and ambitions. Of course, we have seen such a message in films like Three Idiots. Appa is all about this, entirely about this, in fact.

Samuthirakani — who has been trying to expand his acting range (as a great cop in Visaaranai, as a clownish headmaster in Amma Kanakku and as an extremely understanding parent in Appa) stands as a contrast to two other fathers in the movie, played by Thambi Ramaiah (as Singaperumal) and Namo Narayana (Nadunilaiyan). Dayalan despite a violently disagreeable wife (breaks every stick of furniture in the house), who wants her son, Vetri Maran, to compete with the world by scoring near-impossible grades at school stands firm. The man wants the boy to learn life skills which include his passion (swimming) and civility in society. Dayalan teachers Vetri Maran even how to mingle with girls.

On the other hand, Singaperumal makes a donkey out of his son, finally driving him to a boarding school, where he is stripped for a minor mistake and beaten the whole night. Swinging between these two pendulums is Nadunilaiyan, who coaches his son to remain in the shadows so that he can ultimately disappear, unsung and maybe even unloved.