Saudi Vellakka Review | A Tale of Compassion Built on a Fragile Foundation

The movie Saudi Vellakka intends to be in that feel-good zone of movies like Sudani From Nigeria, Kumbalangi Nights, etc., which explore the journey of human beings over the course of an event. But after the initial hilarious patch that follows the procedures in getting bail, the movie shifts its tone to an emotional journey, and it feels like they burdened a fragile foundation with too much of sentiments. But thanks to the wonderful performances on screen, Saudi Vellakka never becomes a drag.

It’s about this place named Saudi near Thoppumpadi. A young man named Abhilash Sasidharan is summoned by the police to appear in court, as he will get arrested if he can’t make it. The case on focus was based on an event that happened almost 15 years ago. What was that case and how this dragged duration changed the dynamic of the equation between the characters is what we see in Saudi Vellakka.

The movie’s first hour, which predominantly focuses on a group of people trying to get bail for an aged woman, is very exciting. From the complexities of the procedures to many moments of laughter, Tharun Moorthy sets the premise very neatly. But around the interval point, the film shifts its gears to be a tale of compassion and empathy. But for that, Tharun is creating so many subplots. The fragility of the case and the emotional burden through which the mother character is going through has this sharp contrast which makes it difficult for us to root for them. I can understand that this irony was by design, but from script to screen, it got drenched too much in melodrama.

As Ayesha Ravuthar, Devi Varma delivers an extremely convincing performance. It was a character who doesn’t emote too much but had so much going inside her head, and one could sense that pain in her performance. Major credit should be given to Pauly Valsan, who dubbed that character. Binu Pappu, as Britto, gets a role with ample scope to perform as he portrays the three phases of that character. The most affecting performance, in my opinion, came from Sujith Shankar as the emotionally volatile Sathaar. In terms of screen time, Lukman Avaran’s character is only there in the last half an hour of the movie. But the performance was good. Gokulan as advocate Gokulan gets a role with a good amount of screen time, but the writing of that character looked stereotypical in many areas. The movie’s cast has so many names in prominent yet small roles.

At one point in the movie, the judge, played by actor Vinod Sagar is telling Lukman’s Abhilash not to play too much Nanmayulla Lokame in this case. It was an overlapping dialogue with no lip sync, and it was almost like Tharun Moorthy added it once he finished watching the entire film. Pending court-cases issues, human psychology, empathy, compassion, etc., are the things Tharun is trying to address and cover through this movie. But there are areas in the film where the subplots he has created to convey all these are not blending really well. The humor that happens in the second half clearly shows this blending issue. It looks like Tharun’s anger against his ex-girlfriend isn’t over as he yet again plays the theppu card, this time in a rather pointless cameo by the talented Vincy Aloshious. Sharan Velayudhan’s cinematography tries to be less flashy as he captures frantic situations with handheld shots and courtroom procedures using static frames. I felt the movie’s pacing could have been much more engaging and less dramatic in the second half. The background score that kind of repeated every now and then in the emotional patch of the film was beautiful.

Even though the treatment feels like an amalgamation of certain movies that worked in the recent past, Saudi Vellakka becomes a passable drama largely due to the emotional track in the movie. It is that feel-good drama that managed to leave the Jis Joy zone but couldn’t really get to the spot Zakariya reached with Sudani from Nigeria.

Final Thoughts

It is that feel-good drama that managed to leave the Jis Joy zone but couldn't really get to the spot Zakariya reached with Sudani from Nigeria.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.