Released in the International Year of Shelter,
the film tells of Sudha (Archana), a government
clerk in Madras, who lives with her sister and
grandfather Murugesan (Bhagavathar), a retired
music teacher. They look for a new home and
are advised to build one instead. Helped by her
friend Gopi (Bhanuchander), she encounters
harassment, corruption and obstruction
wherever she turns until, in the end, the Water
Authority appropriates her new house and she
is last seen in a freeze-frame seeking redress
through the courts. The director claimed it to
be a true story, inspired by the experiences of
his mother. As his own cinematographer,
Mahendra uses hand-held techniques and
atmospheric source lighting to great effect.
There are no song and dance sequences but
the movie lovingly shows the old man singing
beloved Tamil songs. The music is taken
largely from Ilaiyaraja’s album How to Name It.
Archana’s and especially Bhagavathar’s
performances stand out, while the overly
emphatic figure of building worker Mangatha
strikes a false note.