Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu is one of the great debut features in recent times. Suresh Sangaiah's second feature, Sathiya Sothanai, is stitched from the same cloth. Here, too, we get a rural atmosphere (Aruppukottai) and quirky characters and situations – but this time, the magic is missing. The story opens with a man being murdered for the jewellery on him. He has so many gold chains, he could open a store. A little later, a not-too-smart man named Pradeep (Premgi Amaren) – our protagonist – comes across the body, and thus begins a series of events that involve Pradeep's family, his fiancee, a bunch of corrupt and incompetent cops, an exasperated judge, a stolen walkie-talkie, and – most importantly – a feisty old woman dressed in white. The crux is this: Where are the jewels the dead man had on his person?
Sathiya Sothanai feels like an early draft of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, the brilliant Dileesh Pothan movie that combined crime and humour and satire. The difference is that in Sathiya Sothanai, things feel lazy, like they felt this much was enough for an "easy watch". The situations are stagey. Consider this. A lazy cop gets a call from a superior. He runs on the spot so as to sound out of breath. He says he is chasing criminals. His superior says those criminals are back at the police station. If that's your idea of humour… Some of the one-liners do work. But a setup like this needs more than just the occasional gag. It needs bite. There's a big reveal at the end and even that feels contrived, something tacked on just for an easy laugh rather than something that organically grew from the story. Maybe it's the sophomore slump. Let's see what Suresh Sangaiah does in Movie No.3!