The lyricist and Dravidian ideologue Kannadasan uses a fictionalised account of the British East India Company’s subjugation of the Sivagangai kingdom as a vehicle for DMK propaganda. Set in 1798, Omaithurai, the brother of Kattabomman who rose against the British, seeks the protection of the Marudu brothers who rule Sivagangai (the Marudu are folk legends renowned for their anti-British insurrections). Col. Welsh (Kashmiri) uses this incident to storm their fort and execute the rulers. In parallel, the film chronicles the tragic love story between Muthazhagu (Rajendran) and Chittu (Kamala). Chittu and another female character die of unspecified causes after their husbands get killed. A young bride whose husband is murdered by robbers commits sati, something the film appears to approve of as the Marudu brothers declare she should be worshipped as a deity. Theatricality, verbosity, angled shots for emotional emphasis and insistent background music weigh the film down, although folk-songs provide a lighter touch. The film was sometimes presented as the DMK’s counter to Veerapandiya Kattaboman, made the same year with a more strongly emphasised nationalism. The script was published in 1994.
Did you know?
The film is based on the Maruthu brothers who fought the East India Company towards the end of the 18th century. Read More