KM from Sarjun The price of blood is a newsroom drama that doesn’t keep you on the edge of the seat or surprise you with one twist per minute. Still, it’s a healthy film that will keep you going with its well-etched characters and endearing performances.
To begin with, Rachel Victor of Priya Bhavani Shankar is a Christian journalist. In an ideal setting in Kollywood, she would have sported the obligatory chain with a cross or taken a photo of herself praying in church. But, here, she is shown at a house party, mourning the death of her father with a glass of wine, and using the F word without ulterior motive. Make no mistake, she also isn’t the âmodern girlâ role model lecturing people about liberation. She’s flawed, she’s angelic, she could be any of us and that makes Rachel and many other Blood Money characters special. For example, when a good man in the movie who doesn’t want to hurt anyone, even in his dreams, witnesses a major crime, he doesn’t do anything heroic, he freezes like you and me. The people of this world are just engulfed in their own battles and the protagonist issue doesn’t affect them much, and for some this is just another piece of news. During an important scene, a character says: “I have seen villages being slaughtered overnight, how can the death of a stranger affect me? Such in-depth character studies are rare, but Sankar Dass’ strong writing makes you want to read a good novel.
Director: Sarjun KM
Actors: Priya Bhavani Shankar, Shirish, Kishore, Vishrutha
Sarjun deserves extra points for showing a non-caricature newsroom. As a journalist, I can say that it is Tamil cinema that comes closest to capturing a media house in its element, at least in the last decade or so. While there is room for perfection, seeing a newsroom filled with characters who aren’t carbon copies feels like a breath of fresh air. I especially liked the way Sarjun portrayed the ego at work and the system that wears out even the most enthusiastic.
Looking macroscopically, The price of blood has a very simple story. It is the story of two prisoners who are on the verge of death sentences in Kuwait and a journalist from Chennai who fights to save them. Those who do not know the concept of The price of blood (a compensation for imprisonment and the death penalty in the Middle East) will likely find the plot new. But what most prevents audiences from fully enjoying the film is the convenience of the script. I understand that a hero’s journey needs triumphs, and the feel-good drama needs to have some type of ending, but here the issues seem to resolve themselves for Rachel. Even though the film manages to root us for her, the quick and easy victories chill us out.
As I mentioned, The price of blood is a film filled with tasteful performances and above all it was a pleasure to see actors like Priya and Kishore performing in close-ups. But the only artist who effortlessly steals the show is young Vishrutha. She strengthens the emotional core of the film with her subtle expressions and when she crumbles your heart just melts.
Apart from its proper casting, the big over The price of blood is its restricted execution time. Lasting less than 90 minutes, the film speaks volumes without losing our attention. It is a film that values ââthe time of its audience a lot and such films deserve more love from us.