Sahasram directed by Dr S Janardhanan (of Mahasamudram fame) with Suresh Gopi in the lead is a story of a traditional Mana on the verge of being demolished. The site also happens to be the filming location of a horror movie.
A murder takes place on the sets of the movie and police officer Vishnu (Suresh Gopi) is called to catch the culprit. The victim is a lecherous actor (Suresh Krishna) who specialises in playing negative characters.
As Vishnu tries to solve the murder, events go haywire. Surprisingly, there is only one suspect in the form of an art director who is addicted to drugs (Bala).
There are lots of familiar elements and story telling techniques employed to keep us intrigued. However, Janardhanan’s efforts to keep interesting events coming up incessantly does make our minds go numb after a while.
Suresh Gopi, who has done similar characters many times, still injects some ingenuity in his performance. There are many characters like Lakshmi Gopalaswami who plays a psychiatrist and Sandhya, a young starlet, who come and go, but hardly anyone leaves an impact.
In the final analysis we can say that Janaradhanan puts in a lot of effort but fails to give us an interesting story.
Janardhanan’s Sahasram has Bala playing Vaishakhan, an art director who loses his actress lover Yamuna (Sarayu) in a mishap. Recovering from the tragedy he takes up another assignment for the film Yakshiyambalam, and at the shooting set that is an old mana, starts seeing a beautiful ghost doing the rounds. When an actor gets murdered during the shoot, Sahasranamam IPS (Suresh Gopi) is brought in to probe into it. The prime suspects – Vaishakhan and budding actress Supriya (Sandhya) – plead innocence.
For the first half an hour of the film, confusion reigns. With the arrival of the wailing spirit, things start looking eerie, and the murder takes place. The investigation that follows however, lacks the momentum that would hold the viewer’s interest. And the last fifteen minutes where the final revelation is made, holds a few surprises. But by now, everyone has mastered the trick of picking out the least probable fellow from the group as the murderer.
The director has put in a little bit of everything into this hodgepodge, be it mystery, murder or myths and has vigorously stirred them up. The spirit is still clad in a white sari, and spends most of the time shrieking inside a closed room inside the mansion. She comes out only on very special occasions to prove a point.
The motive behind the murder is too important in a suspense thriller as this. Sahasram is a very rare film in that almost everyone in it turn out to be the culprit towards the end. The problem is that to incorporate each on of these people into the script, the writer needs to go an extra little further to concoct a plausible situation. All these situations regrettably do not work.
There is a song sequence in Sahasram that actually backfires. Its all about shooting for the film inside the film, and Supiya matches her steps with her lover. Unfortunately, its impossible to see the song without thinking of Nagavally and Ramanathan, and we all do know that once that comparison comes up in the mind, the standards to be met would end up somewhere quite high.
Suresh Gopi doesn’t don the uniform for Sahasram. He repeats quite a few times that he is a Palghat Brahmin who is a vegetarian as well. For those of us wondering what that actually means, he explains it further and says that he has no intentions to beat people up to prove an investigation. The debate about vegetarianism leading to abstinence and peace could wait; what is relieving is that Suresh Gopi looks quite at peace with himself, after a long time, in this film. Sandhya is striking, and is equally at ease playing the ghost who spends her time amidst the cobwebs and the actress who dreams of making it big some day.
Sahasram tries not to be the usual murky thriller, but there are plenty of ordinary moments that are spattered all along its way. The ideas and implications are very much there, but ultimately there is an overdose of them, with very few being convincingly worked out.