Review : SENGALAM web series

 Abinesh Elangovan has produced the Vani Bhojan, Shali Nivekas, Kalayarasan starrer political thriller web series, Sengalam, which drops on OTT platform Zee5 from today, March 24th. The series is directed by filmmaker SR Prabhakaran of Soundarapandian fame.

The story revolves around the political upheavals , power games and intrigue in an interior district in TN, where a family has been ruling over the local elections for 40 years. But suddenly when the son is killed,  and his place  as chairman of the local council is vacant, his father, ( Sharath Lohithashva) is in a quandary. He wants to keep the power and post within the family.  So, whom to appoint in his place? Is it his second son (Prem), daughter ( Manasa) or widowed daughter- in- law Sooryakala ( Vani Bhojan)?

Parallel to this is the story of Rayar  (Kalayarasan) and his brothers, who are on a killing spree. Who are they killing and why?

Into this scenario enters Naachiyar (Shali Nivekas), a politically astute college mate of Sooryakala, who now starts guiding her political aspirations.

Do these two women succeed in the face of opposition from local and state level powerful, experienced politicos? Is Rayar caught by the cops? Who gains final control of the political scenario and rises to power?

Sengalam, is a web of political mind games, that captures your attention and keeps you glued to the screen.  The unpredictability factor with constant twists is  a huge plus.

Another factor in its favour is the casting. Every character is well chosen and most are seen in a very different avatar than their usual roles, bringing different dimensions to the role. Director Prabhakaran  has kept the  performances nuanced and  subtle and the sound design too follows suit, and thus, devoid of loudness and melodrama, the series focuses more on dialogues, expressions and human emotions, that make  it interesting to watch.

Vani Bhojan shines in the part of Sooryakala, with a fine, subdued yet nuanced performance, projecting her slowly rising political aspirations and planning.

 Shaji Nivekas as the astute kingmaker Naachiyar, has a meaty role and makes a mark with her performance.

Sharath Lohitashwa as the old leader with a sharp mind, keeps you hooked with a fine performance. Prem is seen in a different role which brings out his acting skills to the fore.

Kalaiyarasan as the angry young man on a mission, impresses. 

The making is on a grand scale,  and the series gives you a feel of stepping into the world of these characters.

However, there are lags in a few episodes and the constant non linear narration is a bit of a downer and difficult to keep track of.

The crisp editing, well chosen locations and grand rally sets and sound camerawork  all work in the series' favour.

Sengalam, a rivetting political drama, with fine performances and twists, streaming now on ott platform Zee 5 from today. 

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