SYNOPSIS Indian Panorama (Feature Film)


INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA 2003


Feature Film

ORUTHTHI

A Girl

Tamil/97 minutes/35 mm/Colour

SYNOPSIS

The film is based on the famous Tamil short novel Kidai, written by Sahitya Akademi award-winner K. Rajanarayan. It is set in the late 19th century in Alampatti, a small village in southern Tami Nadu. The people earn their living by growing cotton and goat rearing. The local zamindar mercilessly extracts tax from the people but the tax money never reaches the government treasury. He squanders it on his own pleasures.

John Williams, a revenue divisional officer goes to meet the zamindar to assess the situation. He refuses to believe it when he is told that people had not paid their taxes owing to poor rainfall. The real picture comes to light when he meets Sevani, a shepherdess. She arranges for a meeting between Williams and the elders of the village.

Sevani is a Dalit girl in love with an upper caste boy Ellappan, a playboy who moves freely with her. But Sevani believes that she will become his wife. She is innocent and does not think that her low-caste status will stand in her way. She is also fearless. One day when they are lost in themselves, their unattended goats stray into a cotton field and destroy the crops. The owner of the land Rakkayee, a widow, appears before kidari, the chief of the sheepfold, and demands compensation.

According to the local custom, the goats cannot leave the sheepfold until the aggrieved is paid compensation by the owner of the cattle that destroyed the crops. Kidari calls for a Panchayat meeting to assess the damages. Subbiah, an expert, is pressed into service. With telltale clues he knows who the real culprits are. The panchayat accuses Ponnuswamy, a known thief who always evades being caught. Ponnuswamy pays the compensation but insists that he is not responsible for the loss of the widow’s crops. But he becomes a reformed person.

Subbiah reveals to Ellappan’s father the proximity between his son and Sevani. The revenue officer leaves the village after submitting his findings and recommendation to the district collector. The zamindar’s men beat Sevani severely since she was responsible for arranging the meeting between the village elders and the British official. The zamindar demands more tax. Ellappan’s father and his clan decide to leave the village. Word reaches them that the district collector has taken away the zamindar’s lands and reallocated them among the villagers so that the latter can pay the tax directly to the government. Everyone acknowledges the role played by Sevani.

The villagers now think of Ellappan’s marriage. Sevani approaches kidari, who convenes a panchayat meeting. The village elders want Sevani to be happy so they ask her to leave the village with Ellappan and get married elsewhere. Sevani realizes what it is to be a low-caste girl. She tells them she cannot leave her village, her people and her goats and run away like a coward with Ellappan. She refuses marriage…

CREDITS

Producer: S. Thara

Director: Amshan Kumar

Screenplay: Amshan Kumar

Camera: P.S. Dharan

Editor: S. Satish & J.N. Harsha

Art: A.C. Pillai

Music: L. Vaidyanathan

Sound: Veeramani

Cast: Poorvaja, Ganesh Babu, Raju Balasingh, Bharati Mani, Thomas Ober

 
 
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