Saamy Square, which released last Friday, was mostly panned by critics. From the over-the-top characters to the gravity-defying action sequences and grating comedy, the sequel has been a disappointment. However, what fans of the first film also sorely missed was Trisha.
In Saamy, Trisha played Bhuvana, a college-going Brahmin woman with whom Aarusamy (Vikram) falls in love. While the film, like its sequel, exoticized the Brahmin dialect and culture without delving into caste oppression much, the rapport between Bhuvana and Aarusamy was loved by the audience. Trisha's nickname 'Molagapodi' was a hit with fans. While Vikram was the hero of the film, the romance between the lead pair could not have worked so well with the audience if not for Trisha's performance, too.
In Saamy Square, critics and fans alike have pointed out how much of a drag the romance track has been, whether it's Vikram's pairing with Aishwarya Rajesh (who replaced Trisha) or Keerthy Suresh. Both Aishwarya and Keerthy are talented actors but for those who'd watched the first film, the magic just wasn't there. This is partly due to poor writing but also because Trisha, as Bhuvana, is still fresh in the minds of the audience, after 15 years of the release.
When the sequel was announced, the makers said that Trisha and Vikram were being retained for it. The news came as a pleasant surprise because the shelf life of a heroine in the Tamil film industry is very short while male actors continue to act with women who are less than half their age. However, Keerthy Suresh was also signed for the film and Trisha eventually walked out of the project, citing "creative differences".
After watching the film, it's not difficult to guess what these differences could have been. Bhuvana barely has any screen time and she dies a gory death. She's there in the film only to get pregnant and give birth to the baby who grows to be Ramsaamy (Vikram again). The lead heroine is undoubtedly Keerthy Suresh.
Trisha, who has been in the industry for over 15 years, and is now doing films where she plays the solo lead (with mixed results), definitely deserved better. Filmmakers often consider heroines to be easily replaceable because they believe these stars have no market value. It is the male actors who supposedly bring people to the theatres.
Considering how hero-centric our films are, this isn't surprising. However, even if the hero is there in every frame, he needs support from other actors for the film to work. Take Baahubali 2, for instance. Without Anushka Shetty's powerful performance as Devasena, Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas) would not have emerged as the hero he is. The chemistry between the lead pair is still talked about by fans.
Saamy Square would have benefited a lot if director Hari had not given in to the Kollywood trend of killing the first heroine just so she could be replaced by another. Just as the sequel would not have been written without giving Vikram enough to do, the makers should have respected what Trisha brought to the first film. Perhaps the response from the audience will teach our directors that it's not only the male stars who matter. Heroines, too, have their fans who want to see them on screen - even after 15 years.