Tamil film espouses vegetarianism--becomes hit

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ashdoc, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    A Tamil film espousing vegetarianism is not only running to packed cinemas across the state, but also winning critical acclaim in the regional press. Titled Saivam, the film was released on June 27 in more than 220 theatres in India and abroad.

    In Tamil Nadu, where vegetarianism is a euphemism for Brahminism and where contemporary politics has been shaped by a social movement with a strong anti-Brahmin current, the film’s success is remarkable because it has so far not faced accusations of caste-bias or imposing Brahmin values.

    “I hear the film is running to full houses although it is too early to say what the collection figures are,” said AL Vijay, the 33-year-old director. “But I hope Saivam's success will put to rest scepticism about whether a film can tackle an inflammatory subject like vegetarianism.”

    The film was made on a small budget. Inspired by the film's message, many of the actors and technicians declined to take fees, said Vijay, who has consistently produced commercial successes of films with unusual themes. For Saivam, the producers have won rights to remake the film in Telugu, are in talks for a Hindi remake and plan to take it to festivals abroad.

    While the film does include some of Tamil cinema’s stock elements, such as a teenage love story, songs and comic escapades, it is never crass or preachy, conveying its message with nuance and subtle nudges. It contains laugh-out-loud situations, but no violence or melodrama.

    More to the point, it has not attracted controversy probably because it has been able to convey that it is advocating vegetarianism out of a compassion for animals and not concern of caste purity.

    “A big handshake to the filmmaker, who has made a movie of a chicken-biryani family turning vegetarian,” said Kumudam, a popular weekly. A review in Dina Thanthi, a leading Tamil daily, said that the film’s strength lay in expanding a one-word subject into an absorbing tale.

    Sensitive subject
    Vegetarianism is a sensitive subject in Tamil Nadu. But Brahmins are not the only vegetarians in the state. Saiva Pillais, land-owning devotees of Siva, and the Vellalars, an agricultural community, also do not eat meat. Indeed, the Tamil word for vegetarian is saivam, from which the film get its title.

    But a form of discrimination in the state’s real estate market reinforces vegetarianism’s almost exclusive association with Brahmins. Sometimes, Brahmins looking to rent out flats will say only vegetarians should respond to their advertisements, ruling out the vast majority of Tamils.

    But Vijay said his film had managed to win converts. He said he had been receiving texts and email messages from Tamils across the world, telling him how moved they had been by the film’s message of compassion. A leading filmmaker phoned him to say he’d turned vegetarian after watching the film.

    Yet Vijay, who is, of course, vegetarian, has not been able to get his own family to stop eating meat. That's not surprising: they are Chettiars, a mercantile community whose cuisine is appreciated worldwide for its meat and fowl dishes.

    The plot
    Partly autobiographical, the story is set in Karaikudi, the land of the Chettiars. A rooster named Papa (meaning baby in Tamil) and several chickens roost alongside goats and cattle in the backyard of a mansion, which is the home of a large, prosperous family.

    Over time, these animals will all be slaughtered, many for the regular feasts the family holds, but some, like Papa, to appease village deities. The family patriarch calls his scattered brood back to the mansion for an annual village festival, when a fowl will be sacrificed to the gods.

    But Papa is also the object of affection of the patriarch's granddaughter, a 10-year-old girl called Tamizh. Unable to part with the rooster, she hides the bird. The rest of the plot charts her feelings in the run-up to the sacrifice. At the end, the crusty patriarch, touched by his granddaughter’s affection for the rooster, turns vegetarian.

    The plot is unusual, complete with bucolic drunks and fowl thieves, village bums cheating on their wives and prosperous village women who cook delectable meat dishes in their huts.

    The film’s main theme is animal welfare, but it also touches on the nature of rapid urbanisation, the pressures on agricultural communities and superstition.



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  3. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    vegetarianism is path to cowardice .
     
  4. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    Ahem.

    Vegetarianism is great if you can ignore Chicken Kasha, Mutton Biriyani, Chicken roll, Fish fry :hurray:...... ohhhhhhh how can I be a vegetarian?!!!
     
  5. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    Vegetarian people cannot stand the sight of blood . they are much less capable of bloodshed .

    for example , do vegetarian communities like jains join the armed forces ?? no .

    but some capacity for bloodshed is required to defend the nation . for example what if there is a war with pakistan or china ??

    we do not live in a peaceful neighborhood . not only external threats like pakistan and china , we also face many internal threats like kashmir militancy , maoist rebellion etc . we need men and women to fight this .

    what if vegetarianism spreads and everyone becomes vegetarian ?? these vegetarians cannot even stand the sight of blood , forget actually cutting up and killing animals . then how will they kill humans ?? if war or some internal insurgency breaks out , then we will have to fight and that entails killing enemy humans like terrorists or pakistanis chinese etc !!

    if everyone turns vegetarian , then who will fight in war ?? we will be reduced to effeminate cowards .

    not surprisingly , india gave rise to the greatest icons of peace---gandhi and buddha . but some capacity of bloodshed is necessary to defend the nation .
     
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  6. jus

    jus Senior Member Senior Member

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    I eat Non-veg only 1 day(Sunday)
    means i'm 85% VEGETARIAN :taunt:
     
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  7. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    I can not think of become a vegetarian ... Nothing can beat Red Meat...
     
  8. pkroyal

    pkroyal Regular Member

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    What a sweeping statement, A generalization that can crown the propagator as a dunce & a person who spreads half truths.:p

    There are many vegetarians in the Fauj who will give anyone who eats whatever he wants a scare in the pants.:taunt:

    Many meat eating persons have wet their pants not only with contents of urine but other smelly waste as well at the sight of danger:scared1:

    Don't mislead and palm off unsubstantiated stuff as gospel truth( "vegetarianism is path to cowardice" @ashdoc

    How much of a brave heart are you ?:confused:
     
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  9. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    you will realize the folly of what you are saying if everyone turns vegetarian---like these veggies plan to do .

    the whole country will turn into pacifists , and an atmosphere of pacifism will make our defences weak . vegetarian communities like gujaratis marwadis jains etc dont join the armed forces , and if everyone turns vegetarian then no one will join the armed forces .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  10. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hindu caste system, good or bad, does not expect other than Brahmins to be vegetarians.
     
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