Yaathisai, released in 21 April 2023, is an Indian Tamil-language film that falls under the genres of historical fiction, action, and adventure. It is written and directed by Dharani Rasendran. The movie features a talented ensemble cast, including Shakthi Mithran, Seyon Rajalakshmi, Samar, and Vaidhegi Amarnat in the lead roles. Supporting roles are played by esteemed actors such as Guru Somasundaram, Chandrakumar, Semmalar Annam, Subathra, and Vijay Seyon. The film's dialogues are primarily in Old Tamil, but they have been thoughtfully subtitled in modern Tamil for the convenience of the viewers.

Yaathisai Review:

Yaathisai, directed by Selvaraghavan, takes us back to the tumultuous 7th century, where the Cheras, Cholas, and Pandiyas engage in relentless warfare. The Pandiyas emerge victorious, driving the Cholas into hiding and selling off the Cheras as slaves. However, instead of focusing on the expected power struggle between the Pandiyas and the regrouping Cholas, the film takes a captivating detour. It introduces us to the Ainar, a sub-clan tribe living a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence in the arid lands.

The narrative centers around Kothi (Seyon), a member of the Ainar tribe, who dreams of a better life for his unborn child. Though initially positioned as a potential savior of his people, Kothi's journey takes an unexpected turn when he succumbs to the seductive allure of wealth, luxury, and power. The film masterfully contrasts the tranquility of his newfound opulence with the relentless action that preceded it.

Visually, Yaathisai is a work of art. The director and cinematographer Akilesh Kathamuthu employ meticulous framing and vibrant colors to create striking compositions. One particular standout scene features men scaling palace walls, depicted through a close-up perspective that emphasizes their collective determination. Composer Chakravarthy skillfully blends modern strings with tribal instruments like the didgeridoo, crafting a soundtrack that ebbs and flows with the on-screen events.

While inevitable comparisons to Ponniyin Selvan arise, Yaathisai deliberately diverges from the grandeur of its counterpart. It opts for a darker, more visceral approach akin to a gritty graphic novel. Characters are minimal yet functional, and the film's primary focus lies in two aspects. Firstly, it delivers brutal and impeccably choreographed action sequences, showcasing the savagery inherent within men vying for authority. The blood-spattered performances, including those of the extras, lend an authenticity that immerses viewers in the intensity of the clashes.

Secondly, Yaathisai delves into the male psyche across various factions, emphasizing their shared desire for dominance. Whether Chera, Chola, Pandiya, or Ainar, these men seek control and authority over others. The film explores this theme through thought-provoking scenes, including a contrast between a wedding night and a subsequent interaction, revealing that love takes a backseat to the thirst for power. It effectively conveys the corrupting influence of authority, culminating in a compelling showdown between Kothi and the Pandiya king, Ranadheera (Shakti Mithran).

In the second half, the director skillfully immerses us in the cultural and ritualistic aspects of the era. From sacrificial rituals to pre-war dances and leaf-woven marriage ceremonies, these meticulous details, whether rooted in research or imaginative interpretation, transport us to a bygone world. These interludes between action sequences establish a unique rhythm, enhancing the film's ethnographic atmosphere, akin to a National Geographic documentary. Even the weapons exude authenticity, with close-ups revealing arrowheads reminiscent of those crafted by ancient civilizations.

Though some secondary characters could have been further developed, Yaathisai remains a powerful exploration of male-centric authority. The inclusion of a Brahmin priest consumed by lust and temple dancers who become mere playthings sheds light on the pervasive nature of this theme. While brief glimpses into their perspectives leave room for more substantial depth, they do not detract significantly from the film's overall impact.

In conclusion, Yaathisai is an extraordinary cinematic experience, with breathtaking visuals, gripping action, and thought-provoking commentary on the nature of power. Selvaraghavan's masterful direction transports us to a savage yet captivating world, leaving an indelible impression. Prepare to be enthralled by this unique and visually stunning journey into the depths of authority.