Storyline: Karnan, a fearless village youth, must fight for the rights of the conservative people of his village, due to the torture given by a police officer. Language: Tamil
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie.
In fact, I loved the movie for its depiction of a village life:
- Close to real life characters except the hero (Hotheaded, righteous man and a fighter with many skills – which we love it anyway),
- Showcase of the ruckus by villager and policemen and atrocities on the lower caste (made me imagine the brutality of special force on Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh tribe for helping Naxalites)
- A well-knitted presentation of customs & beliefs that is sung throughout the film
- The symbolism for freedom and life & death with the well-timed music
- The folk-feel songs and dances
- Jaw-dropping cinematographic beauty of the village life, landscapes and characters
- The immensely deep but well-directed screenplay that never distracts from its goal while covering romantic moments, actions pieces, heroic shots, problems that are faced by people living in that abandoned village
- All the actors who played actionable characters have done fabulous work in their respective roles
So, with all the above points – I highly recommend watching this film to all.
Then, what’s the problem?
Not one but three:
1) The Bitter Sweet End
Let’s jump right into what this post is actually about. But before that –
Spoilers Alert Spoilers Alert Spoilers Alert
The ending where the village finally gets the justice after ruckuses, fights, a riot mostly created by police mob – The road is finally built along with the bus stop. This is a reel-life end but, in real life, there are hardly any evidences of such justice especially after the violence and the death of many policemen (and the head of the police force who, by the way, is a weak villain). Go through the history of caste-based violence or havoc created by minorities for their rights for their rights. They were either denied justice or given partially (for the political gain) only to take away more of their rights.
Caste and religion-based biases have been seeded and fueled from the very beginning and since then there are only on-par progress happened, that too mostly in urban cities where aware people can claim their rights and ask for justice according to the several sections of our constitution. Having said that the biases are in the mind of the privileged ones who are also in various powerful positions in the government; resulting, an ignorance of discriminations, violence and killing (lynching) – they are never been punished. For example, look at Hathras and many reported, unreported & highlighted rape case, n number of mob lynching without any arrest, so on and I can go on and on; there are millions such cases.
You can argue that it is just a film and the filmmaker chose to give a happy ending or they have given a partial justice but the biases will still be there.
Agreed and we have been watching this from last 5 decades in Indian Cinema – a hero saves the day or a hero puts an effort and helps his community win the small battle.
And we loved it; honestly, I liked it very much because it feels as if we won. This calms our anger which has been building for the last 2 hours. We finish the film, make some tea, talk to friends or family about the existing caste system and hatred among people and how it hollows our society for 15-30 mins and forget about the actual existing problem.
Isn’t this the time when filmmakers give us bitter truth so that it burns mind?
That’s why I adored as well as detested the ending of Parasite. It gives us the dream of the lower class boy but we know that it never happened and will never happen.
Anyway, it is vast topic and we can discuss it further.
2) Hated only by one policeman – A weak villain
Whenever we talk caste-based biases or hate, it is not just the one person, it is the whole system which runs and does all measures to justify the brutality on the lower caste. Remember the Hathras Rape case how Thakur community has stood up with rapists and justifies their action by lying or by admitting it proudly.
In the film, it is shown subtly that the system is ignoring their pleads but it policeman who admitted his hatred towards the villagers and beat them. This is exactly where the filmmaker and screenwriter Meri Selvaraj hides. There is no politics involved but, in reality, politics plays a huge role in case of the violence against the lower-caste people. Hence, a weak villain!
Article 15 has done a brilliant job identifying the caste-based biases within the system.
3) Our innocent-looking-but-tough-all-skilled-and-righteous-hero
This is very much evident just from heading. The hero could be shown as a normal person. But ultimately, all arguments come down to – “It is just film”. Sigh!
PS: This film is a good example of melodrama-done-right; all thanks to its detailed presentation of village life and gradual development of characters.
Anyway, let me know how you felt after watching. This is still a good film and technically (including screenwriting) a well-made film. Available to stream on Prime.