P. Samuthirakani Nadikkum Appa
by M. Anbazhagan
|Cinematography||Richard M. Nathan|
|Edited by||A. L. Ramesh|
|Distributed by||Etcetera Entertainments|
Appa (English: Father) is a 2016 Indian Tamil-language independent drama film written and directed by Samuthirakani and is produced by Sasikumar who also plays a guest appearance. The film is a sequel to the 2012 film Saattai and features Samuthirakani and Thambi Ramaiah reprising their roles from the previous film, while Namo Narayanan, Vignesh and Nasath play supporting roles. Featuring music composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the film began production in late 2015 and continued till March 2016. The film was released on 1 July 2016. The film was remade in Malayalam as Aakashamittayi (2017) with Jayaram playing the main lead.
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Dhayalan (Samuthirakani), Singamperumal (Thambi Ramaiah) and Nadunilayan (Namo Narayana) live in the same community in a town near Neyveli, Tamil Nadu. They are expecting the arrivals of their respective children and they all have different perspectives in child rearing. Dhayalan makes his wife to go for a traditional delivery at home, while Singamperumal instructs the doctor to perform a C-section on a scheduled date and time, in order for his child to have the best possible horoscope, pre-calculated based on the date and time of birth. All three of them have baby boys. Dhayalan names his son Vetriswaran, Singamperumal names his son Chakravarthy Singamperumal and Nadunilayan names his son Mayilvaganam.
Trouble brews at Dhayalan's home, when he refuses to put his son at the age of two in a play school. Dhayalan's wife wants their child to be sent to a specific play school since the other children in the neighborhood are being enrolled there and is considered prestigious. Dhayalan's view is that the toddler need to enjoy his childhood by playing and learning and join a school at the age of 5. But after a heated argument, Dhayalan's wife attempts suicide for this and he agrees against his conscience and enrolls their son in the play school.
As the boys grow, their fathers imbue different social aspects into their children. Dhayalan teaches his son to be friendly to society, trust people, enjoy every moment of life and do good to the community. He teaches his son to follow a path of truth and integrity, considering human values above everything else. He also teaches his son how to behave friendly and talk socially with others. Singamperumal teaches his son not to trust anyone and focus only on academics, asks him to follow a timetable for everything and the goal is to achieve state topper in Class 10th and 12th exams, join a medical degree in a prestigious college and take up a master's medical degree in one of the United States's top medical colleges. Nadunilayan teaches his son not to stand out on any particular aspect and to take a centrist position in everything. His ideology is to live a low-profile life because he understands if one is very good or very bad in any of the aspects, he attracts the attention of society.
When Vetriswaran is in second grade, Dhayalan is furious with the teaching approach of this school, gets into an argument with the school management, and moves his son out of the private school to a government school. Dhayalan's wife is angered by this event and separates from him; she goes to her parent's house and seeks divorce and custody of her son. However, her father rejects this idea and lets Dhayalan have custody of his son.
The children grow into boys and become teenagers. Vetriswaran grows into a self-confident teenager excelling in both sports and studies; Chakravarthy as a studious but timid and indecisive boy whereas Mayilvaganam grows up with an inferiority complex about his height and studies.
Dhayalan identifies that Vetriswaran is interested in swimming and enrolls him in swimming classes, it leads to achieving a Guinness World Record at the age of 16. Dhayalan also identifies the ability of Mayilvaganam to write poems, compiles all his works and sends them to a leading lyricist Pa. Vijay. Mayilvaganam's book gets a good recognition and he is felicitated by the renowned persons of the industry. Chakravarthy also joins at Dhayalan's backyard hut for children when his father is not at home, and the trio become friends with Nandhini (Yuva Lakshmi) and Rashitha Bhanu (Gabriella Charlton). They all study together and pass the 10th std examinations, with Bhanu and Chakravarthy becoming the state first students.
Singamperumal's ideology is that dedication plus meditation plus concentration is equal to education and Chakravarthy tops 10th class with 99% and his father enrolls him in one of the strictest higher secondary boarding schools in a distant locality. Chakravarthy is given a target by his father to top in Class 12th as well. He longs for the affection of his mother in the boarding school, succumbs to the rigorous rules, torture by staffs in a dark room and unforgiving pressure of school management. He calls Vetriswaran and the gang of children decides to meet him. They help him to sneak out and have fun but this is found out by the management and Chakravarthy faces repercussions.
Singamperumal, while arguing with Dhayalan and the other children for meeting his son, suddenly receives a phone call that his son attempted suicide. Singamperumal who is in a shock reaches the hospital with Dhayalan and later apologises to Dhayalan for ill-treating and abusing him. He also exclaims that he did not even allow his son to talk friendly with him and hence Singamperumal realises his mistakes and then reforms. The whole management convinces that nothing serious has happened. But Kumaran (Sasikumar), a famous doctor, informs Dhayalan that that Chakravarthy already died 8 hours ago and was murdered by the School officials for complaining after a night long torture. The management publicize that Chakravarthy committed suicide because of a love failure but an angry student who is Chakravarthy's best friend tells the media the truth. Dhayalan reports the incident with evidence of a letter which the child has written for his father. Chakravarthy's friends are devastated. The story ends with the moral that children should be cherished and loved but not ignored and kept pressured.
- Samuthirakani as Dhayalan
- Thambi Ramaiah as Singamperumal
- Namo Narayana as Nadunilaiyan
- Sasikumar as Doctor Kumaran (extended guest appearance)/Also Producer
- Vinodhini as Singamperumal's wife
- Vela Ramamoorthy as Dhayalan's father-in-law
- J. Vignesh as Vetriswaran
- Raghav as Chakravarthy Singamperumal
- Nasath as Mayilvaganam
- Gabriella Charlton as Rashitha Banu
- Yuvasri Lakshmi as Neela Nandhini
- Pa. Vijay as himself
- Yugabharathi as himself
- Kalaikumar as himself
- Anil Murali as the warden of the VKV institution
Sam Nathan as car washing housekeeper
Saattai (Translation: Whip) is a 2012 prequel of Appa. The film was directed by M. Anbazhagan and features Samuthirakani and Thambi Ramaiah in pivotal roles.
In September 2015, Samuthirakani chose to postpone the production of his Kitna, after the lead actress Dhansika got an offer to appear in Pa. Ranjith's Kabali (2016). He chose instead to use his time directing and producing a sequel to his earlier film, Saattai (2012), and revealed that the film would be titled Appa. He revealed that the film would bear no resemblance to the first film, but would be a spiritual sequel and would revolve around the education system like the previous film. He initially approached Anbazhagan to direct the film, but the director's commitments to making Rupai produced by Prabhu Solomon, meant that Samuthirakani directed the film himself. Samuthirakani also revealed that the film's plot line had been taken from a real life incident, which happened when choosing a school for his son.
The film was shot in 34 days, with Samuthirakani expressing his interest in remaking the film in 12 different Indian languages and revealed that he had begun talking to Telugu actors Nagarjuna and Venkatesh about reprising the lead roles. A teaser for the film was released during December 2015. Apparently, the Malayalam remake of this movie has begun on 25 March 2017 and it's going to be directed by Samuthirakani himself. This marks his debut in Malayalam film industry as director.
Release and reception
The satellite rights of the film were sold to Polimer. Behindwoods stated, "Appa has moments of greatness but because of its opinionated presentation, at no level, it gives you a good degree of satisfaction nor makes you accept the flaws that have been pinpointed". Sify.com labelled the film as "below average" and added "to conclude, Samuthirakani’s Appa has lost track as the director carried away by the message and missed the target by a mile".
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