Is rightist Draupathi turning Dravidian Tamil cinema on its head?

Draupathi Kanni Maadam caste film honour killing
Experts believe that one film like Draupathi will not have much impact on people and says it is wrong to think that Tamil Nadu is turning right | Image - Prathap Ravishankar

Tamil cinema saw a watershed moment in the 1980s as directors like Bharathirajaa, K Bhagyaraj, Kasturi Raja, R Sundarrajan and others brought hitherto unseen villages to the big screen.

Charmed by Dravidian idealism, they often broached subjects like caste and superstition laced in a love story. Often they would put a hero, from a lower caste, opposite a heroine from a higher caste, and the relationship would face opposition from the father or family of the heroine. Violence, logic and wit aside, these films would always end with love winning over caste.

In addition, some of these films would have a flashback, notes writer Stalin Rajangam in his book Enbathugalin Tamil Cinema, wherein an upper caste woman who loved a lower caste man became a victim of honour killing and was later turned into a deity and worshipped by both the caste groups.

“The lovers, when they had no other go, came to these deities and sought her blessings and eventually, their love wins in the end.”

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