Drama / Mystery
India is a land of Subaltern deities for and by clans and communities. Locally known as siru theivam in Tamil (little-deities), the presence of these deities is supreme, and they reign every enclave of sub-continent. Each little-deity has unique legends of his or her origin. These legends are often interwoven with socio-historic tropes of India. Individuals who sacrificed their lives for greater cause of the society; people whose extra-ordinary and honourable actions paid to martyrdom; and those who were unjustly massacred by people in authority and power - were immortalised as deities in Indian tradition of little or folk-deities. Puthirai vannaar is a Dalit caste group, and lives in southern part of Tamil Nadu state in India. Their forced-occupation is to wash clothes of other Dalits, the dead and the menstruating women. The sight of Puthirai vannaars, as per caste norms, could pollute the so-called upper caste groups. Puthirvannars were forced to live in shrubs so they could remain unseeable to others. Maadathy is their deity. This film is a tale about a young girl who grew up in Puthirai vannaar caste group and how she came to be immortalised as their local deity, Maadathy.
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Jun 26, 2021 at 03:29 pm
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Excellent depiction of giving Visibility to Miseries of the invisible
The film Madathy is taken brilliantly by Leena bringing to table the ugly face of patriarchy, power inequations and horrendous discriminations and violence against the vulnerable. I also lived with Madathy for those 1 hour 30 minutes. Such films are Welcome change agents. I really appreciate Leena for the crystal clear delivery calling spade a spade without mincing words or actions. She has brought out the best from all the actors. I am so glad that my little drop has been added to this ocean and proud of Leena and the crew. Best wishes always, Shameem
A profound film with a lot to think about after watching!
I was fortunate to see the preview of "Maadathy, an unfairy tale" directed by Leena Manimekalai. It is definitely one of the outstanding films in the recent days. Few words won't be sufficient to describe beauty of the film.
There are many layers in the film that provide abstraction of different themes. At a higher level, the story revolves around the hardships of a family that belongs to lower than the lowest caste. But the subtext shows the hierarchical caste society as a pyramid structure where the top layer suppresses and controls the next layer. Each layer sees next layer as a means to express its authority and release of emotions that it is deprived of by the top layer. Imagine a girl who is born in the lowest of that pyramid structure and the weight she needs to shoulder from all top layers of the pyramid. Does anyone care about her dreams? This is what the story is about and told with great visual aesthetics by the director Leena Manimekalai. At the end of the movie, a donkey is a witness to the horror and it carries the weight of the girl. It says a lot without need for any words.
For some reason, this movie reminds me of one of the greatest movies by the great director Robert Bresson, "Au Hasard Balthazar". One of his famous quote is "Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen." I think Leena Manimekalai achieved this through her film "Maadathy, an unfairy tale".
Congratulations to the entire film crew for such a realistic performance! You were part of something very special!
Maadathy was the opening film at Panchajanyam International Film Festival 2020 but I couldn't watch it then as I could not make it to Chittur that day. Leena Manimekalai, the Director of the film was kind enough to share a preview link with me the other day I watched the movie today. It is a well made movie and would definitely help open up the eyes of some folks who still keep denying caste based exploitation. Many don't believe that this exists even in this day and age. Leena deserves a round of applause for the movie and in particular for the theme she has selected! Cinematography is another beautiful aspect of the movie. Overall, the film conveys the message quite well and is vert relevant in these times. Well done!
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Yosana - Girl of the bush
In an interview with Bill Moyers in 2013, Sherman Alexie the magnificent American Indian writer and poet reasoning his father's alcoholism to his ethnicity - of being a Red Indian. Later in the same conversation Alexie reveals, as dramatically as only a poet can, that he is also an alcoholic, recovering. And Moyer asks him why he answered that he is 'too a Red Indian'?
Watching the scene of a death ceremony where villagers throw coins and a liquor bottle to give the laundry job to Yosana's father in Leena Manimekalai's movie 'Madathy', I couldn't help but sigh at the uncanny bearing of these two stories - Sherman Alexie's and Yosana's. The obstinacy of oppression that is persistent through generations. And how alcohol acts as a governing paraphernalia to control the resilient soil-fostered human beings.
Leena portrays a girl as innocuous as the earth transmuting herself into a grueling goddess, because of the enormous malice piled on her - like one of those south Indian mother goddesses who punishes her kids with a prodigious sum of adoration. In between this transformation we experience the destitute cries of mothers who carry fire in their lap for generations, grandfathers' helpless prophecies and the unforgiving sky pouring unbearable pain.
Yosana - a girl of the bush, her refuge, Nature a fiesta to the eyes, like streams that reveal irreversible desires, wherein rocks lays bare to be carved into goddesses and the wind tells stories of ultimate immortality to her ears.
Leena is a poet who transcends boundaries of narrative language with delicate and detailed visual consciousness.