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Novelist Poomani rejects interpretation of 'Asuran' as the victory of Dalits over oppressors

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We should not give room to casteism, says Sahitya Akademi Award-winning author

Sahitya Akademi Award winner Poomani expressed satisfaction over the adaptation of his novel Vekkai as the film Asuran, though he rejected the interpretation of the story as a victory of Dalits over their oppressors.

“Even though I am the author, I cannot expect that every aspect of the novel should be reflected in the film. It is impossible in an adaptation. I don’t now what he [director Vetrimaaran] had in mind while making the film. But there are some basic things that cannot be altered,” Mr. Poomani told The Hindu.

He said the success of the film is seen in the fact that Asuran’s director Vetrimaaran had been able to keep his audience riveted for two full hours. Mr. Poomani said he had watched Mr. Vetrimaaran’s three films — Aadukalam, Visaranai and Vada Chennai — before they met each other.

‘Asuran’: Dhanush is quite sublime (as always) in Vetri Maaran’s latest

‘Asuran’: Dhanush is quite sublime (as always) in Vetri Maaran’s latest   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

‘Handling violence’

“He had handled violence in a beautiful manner. So I thought he would be able to analyse the reasons behind the violence in my novel. I offered him a copy of Vekkai, but he already had one. I told him that he can do as he wishes [with the adaptation],” Mr. Poomani recalled.

Asked about the reviews and interpretations that said the film had dealt with the idea of suppression of Dalits, and that Chidambaram, played by Ken Karunas, and his father Sivasami, played by Dhanush in the film, had broken the shackles, Mr. Poomani said the novel did not deal with the idea of Dalitism.

“It is sheer casteism and we should not give room to it. The reviewers and interpreters would probably have kept in mind the problems faced by Dalits in the Thanjavur district while reviewing the novel and the film. We do not have Panchami lands in our area and did not witness denial of wearing chappals,” he said.

He explained the novel had dealt with the importance of owning land, and the honour of a family.

“Chidambaram [the teenage son] also did not intend to kill. His plan was to chop off the right hand of the Vadakkooran [his upper caste opponent]. But the way he used the weapon ended in murder,” he said.

A father’s fears

Talking about the character of Chidambaram, Mr. Poomani said, “The story is narrated through him. His only aim is to avenge the murder of his brother. His father explains the role of the judiciary and administration in a society to him, and is afraid that he [Chidambaram] would be forced to carry a sickle permanently,” he said.

Asked about the celebration of the murder by Chidambaram’s family, as narrated in the novel, Mr. Poomani said it was because elders of the family had felt that the act had wiped out the tears of the family over the death of the older son.

“Violence can never be a solution,” he reiterated.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:20:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/novelist-rejects-interpretation-of-asuran-as-the-victory-of-dalits-over-oppressors/article29612672.ece

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