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Sembi Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Thursday, December 29, 2022 • Tamil ]
Sembi Review
Trident Arts
Kovai Sarala, Ashwin Kumar
Prabhu Solomon
R.Ravindran, Ajmal Khan, Reyaa
Nivas K.Prasanna

Sembi -  Inspires common people to turn heroes in the fight for justice

Prabhu Solomon has delivered the pathbreaking 'Myna' and 'Kumki' that dealt with the lives and pains of marginalized tribal people.  After a string of flops he has returned to his familiar ground with 'Sembi' a tale of the fight for justice that turns common people into heroes.

'Sembi' is a ten year old tribal girl dwelling in the hills with her grandmother (Kovai Sarala) who makes a living by selling pure honey and bird eggs that she procures risking her life.   During one of her journeys to the town the little girl is gangraped by the son of a top politician and his two rich friends.  When a wily cop tries to buy her silence the grandmother refuses and ends up attacking him.  The grandmother and the ravaged child are forced to go on the run as the police on one side and the criminal henchmen of the politician on the other side hunt for them.  They board a bus filled with people who may betray them any moment.  Can the two vulnerable souls escape from the vultures and wolves in human form on their trail?  Will justice be served to them? 

Nila who plays the title role has given a moving performance especially when depicting the brokenness of her character.  Her eyes speak the trauma of the rape victim loudly and she deserves the first applause. Kovai Sarala gets top billing in the film and she fully justifies that by her impactful performance.  The scene in the hospital when she hears about the state of her granddaughter and keeps wandering aimlessly to gather herself touches the heart.  She has also given her all, physically in the action sequence with the cop as well as scaling a tree and trekking in the hills without footwear.  Ashwin Kumar plays the mysterious stranger on the bus who takes up the fight to bring justice to Sembi.  Though his character is forced and is not much demanding he has put in a sincere effort and in the process finds redemption for his recent infamy.  Thambi Ramaiah appears as a bus owner and tries to tickle the funny bones but he is outdone by some of the newbies who play his passengers, especially the ruffian who counters his every move.  The boys who play the rapists overact and the same can also be said about Nanjil Sampath and Pazha Karuppaiah who interestingly play their real life characters of rival politicians.  Akash is very effective as the wolf in sheep's clothing.

What works best in 'Sembi' as far as the screenplay goes is that it succeeds in getting the audience to root for the grandmother and child right from the start.  The brutality of the gangrape and the suffering the victim goes through after that is conveyed in a spine chilling manner..  Though the bus journey and its passengers are a cliche it works as a clever ploy to convey the opposing views commoners have on the gruesome incident.   The scene where the villains attack the child and the passengers try to look the other way until one woman takes the bold step and they all follow suit gives a high.  The use of technology to set the court proceedings in motion via online, the youth taking to the streets to fight for Sembi and finally the reason why the judge takes his decision are all authentically depicted.  If not for anything else the movie emphasising the importance of how only love from the entire society can heal the unfortunate victims is enough to give it two thumbs up.

On the downside the cinematic liberties that have been taken in the narration seem out of place with the core theme of the film.  The scene in which the passengers of the bus are shifted to another is an example of logic taking the backseat.  Kovai Sarala after a point becomes a reactive character right till the end which is a let down.  Few of the characters and dialogues are unnatural as well.  A strong resemblance to 'Mynaa' can be taken as a positive as well as negative.  The parting shot of bringing God, that too a particular one into the mix also seems forced.

Cinematographer M. Jeevan is the true hero of 'Sembi' right from capturing the vast hills and valleys of Kodaikanal to the pain in Nila's eyes.  Nivas K Prasanna has tuned in hummable songs and has kept the energy levels up with his background score while editor Buvan has kept the pace steady.  Trident Arts has produced R.Ravindran, Ajmal Khan & Reyaa have produced the film under the banner Trident Arts.  

Director Prabhu Solomon who is known for his hardwork and dedication failed to live up to the expectations in his last few outings.  But with 'Sembi' he has not only chosen to tell a compelling story but has made it more appealing to the masses.  He has inspired common people to become heroes and above all gives hope to the victims and emphasized that love can bring justice.  A respectable comeback for the filmmaker.

Verdict : Go for this compelling film that deals with an important issue within the commercial format.

Rating: 3.25 / 5.0

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