Critical reading by the Subaltern
The Koravar community battled with the state to be included in the Scheduled Tribes list, and a study by the Director, Tribial Research Centre, Ooty, studied the community and endorsed the contention that “the traditional occupation, rituals, dialect, kinship terms etc. of Koravar community had several tribal characteristics” ( ‘Koravar’ community people seek ST status’ Hindu, Dec 05, 2006).
Now Paruthi Veeran (Dir: Ameer) has attracted the ire of the community for “defamation of the community in general and its women in particular” (read it here). In the politically charged atmosphere of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu Koravar Tribal People’s Association general secretary Capt. Durai, in a statement attacked the film for harming the community ‘s movement for social justice in its depiction of the community as indulging in gambling, brewing illicit arrack and committing brutal murders. In a remarkable demonstration of critical reading of films, Capt Durai argued that:
the director of the film has ensured that all those associated with the Koravar community meet their end before the movie ends implying that the tribes are unfit to live. Even those associated with them are disgraced and run down.
The association, he informs will engage in a demonstration and a public meeting in Dharmapuri on March 9.
Of course, the film is doing well at the box office and the dice may be loaded against the Koravars. Rajni “sir” has endorsed the film. The Indian Express described the film thus:
After a long time, Tamil films and fans are in tandem. Two good films have been released back-to-back, cutting across social strata, and the audience are back in theatres. At the B (and to some extent C as well) centres, Paruthi Veeran is running to houseful shows (‘Mozhi, Paruthi Veeran twin treats’, Mar 1, New Indian Express, 2006).
This brings to mind the Traffic Signal and the Kinner controversy.