BALAS BEST YET: Scenes from the directors latest period movie, Paradesi. Pictures:



CAST: Adharvaa, Dhansika, Vedhika


RUNNING TIME: 2hrs 6min



MAVERICK film-maker and National Award winning director Bala has delivered hit after hit in his 13-year career in the Tamil film industry.

His ability to churn out good scripts has ensured his success. Although his movies have off-beat content, they have not failed to keep the cash registers ringing. Now the film-maker is back with his latest movie Paradesi.

The interesting part of the movie is that he has chosen yet-to-be-established actors Adharvaa and Dhansika. His selection of the pair have surprised many in the industry. However, popular actress Vedhika is also part of the cast.

Paradesi is based on real-life incidents that occurred before independence in the 1930s. The film is the screen adaptation of Eriyum Panikadu, a Tamil translation of the 1969 novel Red Tea by Paul Harris Daniel.

The flick mainly deals with tea plantation workers in the Madras Presidency during the British Raj.

Movies on slavery have been made in every film industry in India. People in power treated the poor badly and Bala tries to bring this out as realistically as possible on-screen.

The story, set in the 1930s, shows the plight of poor tea plantation workers and sheds light on the lifestyle of ordinary, carefree workers and how their freedom was hijacked by the people in power.

The director constructs the story in a brilliant manner, with no room for fictional elements in the narration. A ruthless middleman takes people to work on a tea plantation and offers them good wages.

But once there, the gullible workers realise that their fate has been sealed for ever as they don’t get what they were promised and they can’t escape. Their pain, anguish and struggles form the crux of the story.

This is a true Bala film and if you are a fan of the director, you would rate it his best work to date.

Bala has tried to tell the story with commercial elements, but at times he fails to keep the audience’s attention. Nonetheless, the intensity of the characters and well-adapted scenes will make you forget these boring moments.

Performance-wise, Bala has brought the best out of his characters once again. Atharva, Dhansika and Vedhika have done justice to their roles. Artists like Uma, Udhay Karthik and others have also given their best.

GV Prakash’s music for the movie is rich. Seneerthana is our pick of the album for the soul-stirring voice of Gangai Amaren and hard-hitting lyrics. Chezhiyan’s cinematography could not have been better. The art direction department has excelled in recreating that era.

Verdict: Paradesi is brilliantly made, but it is not guaranteed box-office success. Nonetheless, the film will be loved by Bala’s fans! – by Ramchunder,


• Paradesi will screen at SterKinekor, Gateway from March 29