Durai’s best-known film is a low-life drama set among Madras’s shanty dwellers, people who in most films are cast as comic relief for their ‘Madras Tamil’ dialect or as villains. The teenage ragpicker Kuppamma (Shobha) and her father Muniyandi (Ganesh), a cycle- rickshawalla with many mouths to feed, are the main characters. She gets pregnant by a lorry driver (Vijayan) who turns out to be married, and dies in childbirth. Other vignettes include the owner of a cycle shop (Narayanan) who plays records to attract the attention of Kuppamma whenever she passes by, a narrative device that compensates for the absence of songs in the film. Spoken in genuine Madras Tamil and shot on location, at times with concealed cameras, the film has an authentic city flavour. Shobha, who committed suicide the following year, received a national award for her intense performance.