The caste question in ‘Draupathi’, ‘Kanni Maadam’ and ‘Ettu Thikkum Para’

Posted on March 11, 2020


Three films based on inter-caste marriages show that tragedies drive home social messages far more forcefully than happy endings. (Yes, despite its apparent happy ending, ‘Draupathi’ is a tragedy.)

Spoilers ahead…

There’s been a steady increase in films that comment on caste through a narrative that deals with inter-caste marriage. Late last year, we got Pavel Navageethan’s V1: Murder Case, which was generally underwhelming but undeniably important as a footnote in Tamil-cinema history. It’s the first genre-based message movie about caste in the post-Pa Ranjith era. This year, we have, so far, Kanni Maadam and Ettu Thikkum Para and the infamous Draupathi, which has made the most noise because of its reversal of gaze. The other films depict inter-caste marriage to make the point that casteism is a stigma we need to work together to eradicate. Draupathi tells people of the dominant castes to be careful. “Otherwise, they will come and shame us by stealing our girls.”

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil