When Vekkai was first published decades ago, the novella was noted for the stark manner in which Sahitya Akademi-winning author Poomani depicted the mood of exhilaration in a family following a murder.
The murder by a teenaged boy evokes a jubilant mood in the family, as he had taken a life to avenge his elder brother’s killing. Critics saw the depiction as reflecting the aggression of an ordinary family struggling to uphold its honour and livelihood rights in the parched karisal land in southern Tamil Nadu.
The famed novel is set to appear as a Tamil feature film under the title ‘Asuran’, and set to be released in October before Deepavali. Its director Vetri Maaran stresses that he is steering clear of the apparent glorification of the violent incident. Instead, he has chosen to narrate how the family copes with the aftermath of the murder. “I am of the opinion that violence will not be a solution. Families suffer and disintegrate in the wake of such violence incidents,” Vetri Maaran, who has won four national awards, told The Hindu. The film starring actor Dhanush in the role of the killer’s father has introduced Canada-based Tamil youth Teejay as the son Chidambaram, referred as Chelambaram in the novel.
The entire story is narrated in the form of conversations between Chidambaram and his father after they go into hiding in the wake of the murder. Ultimately, they surrender in court. Though the father waited for an opportunity to commit the murder, the boy pre-empted him. All the father could do was to switch off the transformer so that the boy could hack Vadakkooran in dark.
The father cherishes his son’s achievement, his bomb-making skills. Chidambaram’s only regret is that the blade of the sickle had been slightly blunted after the murder. “All sons have an unforgettable journey with their father and the film is one such travel,” Mr. Vetri Maaran said. In the film, the travel takes place in the mid-1980s when the father and son are on the run.
It also shows the early life of the father who spent a term in jail for a murder dating back to the 1960s.
“Dhanush appears in both the periods. He measured up to the expectations and only such a committed actor could justify the title Asuran and light up two different periods,” Mr. Vetri Maaran explained.
He said when a novel is converted into a film the director cannot accommodate every aspect of the book as they are two different mediums. “The film cannot fulfil the expectations of those who have read the novel. But it will offer a different experience to those who have not read it,” Mr. Vetri Maaran said.