Sengalam review: A riveting political thriller that leaves you wanting more

Impeccable performances, engaging BGM and vibrant visuals make director SR Prabhakaran’s web series a gripping watch.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Mar 24, 2023

Sengalam review: A riveting political thriller that leaves you wanting more
Keeps you glued to the screens!
4

Sengalam (Tamil)

  • Cast: Vani Bhojan, Kalaiyarasan, Sharath Lohistashwa, Viji Chandrasekhar, Shali Nivekas, Manasha Radhakrishnan, Vela Ramamoorthy, Bucks, Muthu Kumar, Daniel Annie Pope, Pawan, Prem, Gajaraj, and Pooja Vaidhyanathan
  • Director: SR Prabhakaran
  • Producer: Abinesh Elangovan
  • Music: Dharan
  • OTT platform: Zee5 Tamil
  • Episodes: 9

Director SR Prabhakaran, who delivered some superhit Tamil films like Sundarapandian, tries his hand at a web series for the first time and emerges a topper!

Yes, the director’s Sengalam (Red Field), is a fantastic, intense and gripping political thriller that keeps you hooked to the screen from start to finish.

It’s so engaging that you don’t mind the fact that you have nine episodes to watch.

Each episode of the web series has substantial twists and turns that ensure that the intensity of the plot only grows.

The plot, in turn, is so refreshing and the story is so engaging that by the time you are done watching all nine episodes, you are left craving for more.

Synopsis

Sengalam’s plot initially revolves around Sivagnyanam (Sharath Lohistashwa), whose family holds the Chairman’s post in the Virudhu Nagar district administration for over 40 years.

Sharath Lohistashwa

Sharath Lohistashwa in ‘Sengalam’. (Supplied)

Sivagnyanam has two sons and a daughter. His younger son Natesan (Prem) is not interested in politics but in business.

His elder son Rajamanickam (Pawan) is a shrewd politician who keeps close tabs on both his supporters and rivals.

Rajamanickam is the current Chairman. He exploits the power of the position he holds with great skill to further consolidate his family’s hold on the region.

His popularity and the fact that his family has been holding the Chairman’s post for over 40 years is frustrating news to the district MLA Ganesamoorthy (Vela Ramamoorthy).

The ruling party MLA and his supporters are constantly on the lookout for an opportunity to somehow dislodge Rajamanickam from the coveted position and gain control of it.

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It is under these circumstances that Rajamanickam, after the death of his first wife, chooses to marry again. He weds Suryakala (Vani Bhojan), the daughter of a rich businessman.

Suryakala is more than content to be a dedicated housewife and a humble daughter-in-law. She has little or no interest in politics and leads a content life.

a still from sengalalm

Vani Bhojan and Pawan in a still from ‘Sengalam’ web series. (Supplied)

Things are fine for a while until one day, Rajamanickam and Suryakala choose to go on a holiday to Kodaikanal.

An accident occurs and Rajamanickam dies. Suryakala sustains injuries but survives.

Sivagnyanam is heartbroken but he is an astute politician who knows that he cannot spend time grieving his son and let the Chairman’s post remain vacant for long.

He knows he has to have someone from his family quickly occupy it. But whom should he pick to occupy it?

Should it be Natesan, his married daughter Maragatham (Pooja Vaidhyanathan) or his daughter-in-law Suryakala?

Just when he decides after much thought, Sivagnyanam is in for a rude shock.

Women are more than their beauty

Sengalam is fascinating simply because it does not shy away from showcasing the truth as it is.

For instance, it does not show women to be just puppets in the hands of men. Instead portrays how they are skilled politicians. It highlights the fact that women are as ambitious as men, if not more.

The web series subtly showcases two points that have seldom been shown in Tamil cinema before.

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First, it shows that women in political families are not victims as it has often been made out to be.

Secondly, it tells that women have a more potent weapon at their disposal — sympathy (and not beauty). It throws light on how they employ the weapon to their advantage in politics.

Perfect casting elevates the storyline

Shali Nivekas and Vani Bhojan in sengalam

Shali Nivekas and Vani Bhojan in ‘Sengalam’. (Supplied)

The casting in Sengalam is perfect with each individual looking at every bit of the character they play.

Almost everybody who appears in the web series delivers a neat, flawless performance. The credit goes to the casting director.

Nevertheless, three actors deliver outstanding performances and steal the limelight.

For a debutante, Shali Nivekas delivers a powerful and convincing performance as Naachiyar.

She is impeccable and impressive as the manipulative strategist and close confidante of one of the central characters in the series.

Shali’s innocent and traditional look is in stark contrast to her thinking which is modern and global.

She pulls off the role with elegance and style, making you loathe her character for her ruthlessness but, at the same time, admire her for her clarity of thought.

kalaiyarasan in sengalam

Kalaiyarasan in a still from ‘Sengalam’. (Supplied)

Actor Kalaiyarasan delivers another equally impressive performance as the bold, strong, and clear-headed Rayar.

This is not the first time that Kalaiyarasan did a brilliant job as an actor but this role is bound to put him in another league altogether.

Vani Bhojan as Suryakala is one of the key characters in Sengalam.

Her transformation from being a humble, obedient, simple daughter-in-law to an ambitious, power-craving, empowered woman simply blows you away.

She scores in both avatars and delivers a commendable performance that could well be considered among the best in her career so far.

Sharath Lohistashwa as Sivagnyanam adds great value to Sengalam’s plot.

Vela Ramamoorthy as MLA Ganesamoorthy and Bucks as his Personal Assistant are fantastic.

Music & visuals add value

Dharan’s music is just perfect and adds another dimension to this gripping thriller.

It enhances the mood and draws you more into the story. He also composes an engaging background score, to say the least.

Cinematographer Vetrivel’s visuals are breathtakingly beautiful and vibrant.

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A lot of thought has gone into the composition of shots which ensures that the audience sees the story in the same way the director visualises it in his mind.

Final take

In a nutshell, Sengalam is a web series that is bound to make you stay glued to your screens.

(Views expressed are personal.)