wiki:Ore Oru Gramathile

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Ore Oru Gramathile

aka Once Upon a Time in a Village 1987 138’ col Tamil d K. Jyothi Pandian pc Aries Enterprises p S. Rangarajan s/lyr Vali c Ranga m Ilaiyaraja lp Laxmi, Poornam Vishwanathan, Delhi Ganesh, Arundhati, Nizhalgal Ravi, Beena Chakravarthy, V.K. Ramaswamy, Senthil Charlie

Controversial anti-government film in the tradition of the DMK propaganda melodrama, evoked e.g. in the opening cyclone scenes recalling Thyagabhoomi (1939). Produced in association with the publishers of Madras’s mainstream daily The Hindu, the film anticipates the attacks on the government’s positive discrimination policy in favour of ‘scheduled’ castes, better known as Mandal Commission Recommendations, which helped bring down the Janata Dal government (1990). The impoverished upper-caste Brahmin woman Karupayi (Laxmi) masquerades as a low-caste Harijan in order to receive a good education and a good job. She is blackmailed by a tramp-like figure and eventually arrested and brought to court. As in the DMK genre, the trial becomes the place to expound the pros and cons of the policy and for the heroine to make her fervent plea that it is unfair to ask talented upper-caste people to suffer so that low-caste people may get decent jobs. In addition, the script places feminist ideas in its heroine’s speech to bolster its elitist message. The film uses several folk-music tunes as part of the rural drama and has a convincing performance by Laxmi. It was briefly banned but the Supreme Court eventually cleared it for public screening.