Director M Muthaiah’s Devarrattam has been facing backlash on social media for appearing to glorify caste and support caste killings in Tamil Nadu. This criticism has increased since the trailer released recently. In response to this, the makers said at a press meet that the film does not speak ill of any caste or community.
The poster, featuring Gautham Karthik, has the words, “We will forgive you if you take our lands, but we will never leave those who touch our women.” The actor repeats the words in the trailer too. Director Muthaiah told Silverscreen this was only a punch dialogue. “There won’t be any suspense if I explain these words. When you watch the film you’ll know why I kept the dialogue and its relevance to the story.”
He said that all his films had been about familial bonds and Devarrattam too was anything but casteist. “My films are always about human relationships. After watching Komban, Kutti Puli people realised it did not have anything offensive. Devarrattam is about a socially conscious about a person named Vetri, and the film follows what happens when he takes up a problem which affects all people.”
Muthaiah’s films have previously been criticised for glorifying caste. In 2015, Komban faced trouble after objections were raised by Puthiya Tamilagam founder Dr K Krishnasamy, who said the dialogues in the film would incite caste-based violence. Films like Kodi Veeran, Kutti Puli have also faced backlash for glorifying Thevars. When Devarrattam title was announced last year, it was criticised for its reference to Thevars.
According to a report by CE, at the press meet recently, every member of the crew who spoke stressed that the the film didn’t glorify caste. Writer-actor Vela Ramamoorthy said the title denoted a dance form. Producer KE Gnanavel Raja, who spoke last, said, “Devarattam is a caste-based film. It is Muthiah’s depiction of the way of life he is acquainted with. Just like our earlier film, Attakathi, directed by Pa Ranjith, was based on the life and people he knew.”
The film is set to hit screens on May 1. Actress Manjima Mohan plays the female lead. Cinematography is by Sakthi Saravanan, music by Nivas Prasanna and editing by Praveen KL.