There are very few films come up with a concept of period piece and recreate history exactly or feel close to real. In this front, director Bala’s ‘Paradesi’ (a pejorative Tamil term for wastrel) has took a special place in Indian film industry and within days of release (march 15) the film received National Award for Best costume design – by Poornima Ramaswamy. Inspired by a 1969 English novel ‘Red Tea’ by Paul Harris Daniel, the film upholds real life incidents of enslaved tea plantation workers of pre-independence India.
Director Bala, critically acclaimed for very unusual cinema has transported us to an era where the people of rural villages in the Madras Presidency are drove to work on British tea plantations with a promise of high wage and accommodation on contract base. But once reached, they are treated as enslave and pointing at their accommodation, food and medicine the supervisor cheats the enslaved to work on frustration and uncertain freedom. The film’s lead was unrolled by Adharvaa as Rasa, a carefree young tom-tom beater with half bald head – which is the state of most of men in the film hailed from village as enslave.
Alike Adharvaa, Vedhivka role is equally appraise for characteristic performance. The pretty actress has greased down gracefully, showcasing her acting skill which perhaps would wonder anyone who had watched any of her early pictures. ‘I guess everyone is equally talented and bringing it out is an art of either actor or director similar to student or teacher’. In this way director Bala had done incredible job by bringing or identifying the best out of actors and giving them change while exploring untouched plots.
The film also enclosed the struggle of tea leaf plucking; confesses the truth which is not easy as we see in tea estates, a pretty sight where women wore a basket on back and head covered in colorful shawl. One thing that impressed or impounds me in the film was the tone. The dark yet low-light gave a realistic touch and brought down the more emotional and enslave scenes into less impulse. The music scores vital support to the film and songs come alongside the sequence is fair impressive and profound lyrics produces energy whiles lives at enslave.
Nowhere could I see an actor on screen and every character were so alive. The film run for more or less than two hour has very less dialogues, but the expressions and cinematography explains a lot. I recommend this film as must watch everyone and there is no language barrier here. Sorry I have no complains about the film, but indeed appreciate the entire team of Paradesi and its impossible without hardship and hats off to Bala to think different from any other.