First feature of Hariharan, a former member of the YUKT Film Coop (Ghashiram Kotwal, 1976), who went on to become an eminent Tamil film critic. The film tells of labour/ management conflicts in a Tirunelveli district village, the home of the legendary late 19th C. Tamil poet Bharati (cf. DMK Film) whose poems are featured in the movie, contrasting his utopian vision with contemporary conditions. The central figure is an engineer, Anand (Raghuvaran), who becomes the main activist for social justice in a cement factory with connections to a callous moneylender and his cronies. In line with traditional Tamil plot structures, the villain Seth and the hero are after the same woman, Gouri. The villains even plan to set the factory on fire hoping to blame the workers and to claim the insurance, but the plan misfires. The film was apparently inspired by Martin Ritt’s Norma Rae (1979).
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The film was met with widespread critical acclaim upon release, winning the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil and two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. It was screened at the Indian Panorama of the International Film Festival of India, and in the Soviet Union, where it won the Afro–Asian Solidarity Award. At the 13th Moscow International Film Festival in 1983, it was nominated for the Golden St. George prize. Read More