Seththumaan: Thamizh makes an impressive directorial debut with a quietly shattering drama, produced by Pa Ranjith

Posted on February 16, 2021



The nuanced writing in ‘Seththumaan’ (meaning “pig”, like the title of Nagraj Manjule’s ‘Fandry’) weaves in a lot, from Ramnath Kovind to the caste-politics of food.

Spoilers ahead…

The time is 2017. The place is a village in western Tamil Nadu. Through newspapers and radio, a victorious and empowering Dalit story plays out: the consideration of Ramnath Kovind for the post of President, and his eventual election. The New York Times celebrated the news as “a rare achievement for a member of a community once known as ‘untouchables’ and one of the most deprived groups in India”. There are two ways to read Ramnath Kovind’s storyline, which becomes a parallel/background narrative in director Thamizh’s Seththumaan: (1) the circumstances of your birth need not stop you from aspiring for one of the highest offices in the country, or (2) as that Times report said, this is a “rare achievement”, and the reality is what someone like Poochi (Manickam) faces. Every. Single. Day.

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