Paradesi is a Indian Tamil-language period drama film written and directed by Bala. The film was released in 2013. It stars Atharvaa, Vedhika and Dhansika in pivotal roles. The music of the film was composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar. The film was based on novel Eriyum Panikadu, Tamil translation of the 1969 English novel Red Tea by Paul Harris Daniel and inspired from real life incidents that took place before independence in the 1930s.
The film depicts the story of the lives of poor carefree villagers before independence during the 1940’s. They are lured to work in Tea plantation farms and are forced to live rest of their lives as slaves with no traces of hope and freedom.
Acting performances and direction
Paradesi is a typical Bala film as it is dark, brutal and disturbing. Through a realistic adaptation of the life of the tea plantation workers, Bala tells us that life is hell, but just as you think there’s a chance of escaping this hell, there’s a different hell around the corner. In the corner beyond that, it’s a vicious vortex. It’s no surprise that the film ends with a song set to the tune of ‘Ye theeruga nanu’, Bhadrachala Ramadasa’s mournful plea to the Lord.
Music director G.V. Prakash Kumar deserves special praise for the film’s music. The instruments used in the film achieve an undistracted and uniform sound-and-feel throughout this album and it succeeds in placing the listener in the time and place of the story.
Almost all characters in the film have given their absolute best performance. They are subdued and solemn. Atharvaa, Vedhika, Dhansika and Riythvika were excellent in their respective roles.
Paradesi won the National Film Award for Best Costume Design for designer Poornima Ramaswamy, who worked on her first film. It received nine Filmfare Awards South nominations including Best Tamil Film (Bala) and Best Tamil Actress (Vedhika), and went on to win for Best Tamil Director (Bala), Best Tamil Actor (Atharvaa) and Best Tamil Supporting Actress (Dhansika).
There is no doubt that Paradesi is an excellent film. It shows how brutal the Britishers actually were. The movie also shows how their primary interests were only about profits and evangelism and not about the basic needs of the workers.
The film may be too dark for some viewers but it definitively has an engaging screenplay. Paradesi is dark, gritty and bloody realistic. It’s film-making at its best. It is a pure unadulterated cinema and the screenplay and the plot rank high above everything else and a master class in great filmmaking.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.