Naan Kadavul

Director Bala has carved a name for himself by marching against all prevailing sensibilities in the Tamil film industry-his films speak of madness on the margins and the grotesque tragedy that accompanies it. Rudran, a fourteen-year-old boy, is abandoned by his father to grow up amidst the madmen and mendicants in the holy city of Varanasi. He falls in with a tantric sect and becomes an aghori-not just a holy man but a ganja-devouring god in the flesh, able to mete out divine justice. His story becomes entwined with a group of lepers and wretches held captive by an evil gang lord. The story notches up its physical and emotional violence when Rudran goes head-to-head with the gang lord, and ultimately shows us that even the gods, in their infinite mercy, can be supremely cruel. Naan Kadavul won Bala the Best Director, National Award in 2009.

-Lalitha Gopalan and Anuj Vaidya

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