Films are not just a source of popular entertainment; some creators use it to educate and there are a set of people who make movies just to indoctrinate. Draupathi falls under the last bucket which is produced to convince the viewer of a specific political point and also influence their opinions. It has a subjective content which opens up a big debate. Draupathi may not be as controversial as people think but it will still offend a section of people who have been indirectly degraded in the film. Let’s not get too much into that debate and concentrate just about the filmmaking aspects of the film.
Draupathi starts off in a decent fashion and the purpose of revenge is kept a surprise till the second half, keeping us curious to know the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. That mood travels throughout the entire first half, which is the major attraction of the film. It has a very simple story that’s been stretched for over 2 hours and 40 minutes, testing our patience. The script is about fake marriages but the film talks very little about that, instead it emphasizes on random topics like farmers issues, caste-based politics, inter-caste marriage issues and so on. This is not just distracting but also leaves us clueless of what’s even happening. And an elongated climax is only like adding insult to injury. If the director’s idea was to create an awareness about inter-caste marriage, then he should have taken that as the core instead of beating around the bush and bullshitting.
Sheela, the character who plays Draupathi, is the only saving grace among a bunch of inexperienced acting performances. Sheela gets a good role and she makes use of the opportunity to the fullest, her intensity and dialogue delivery are good. The BGM works at places and one song in the second half is bearable. Apart from that, there is hardly anything to talk about the technical side of Draupathi. A little more effort by the technical side with some artistry would have enhanced the overall movie watching experience. Celebration of hatred is a worrying trend in Tamil cinema; More than for mass or thought-provoking dialogues, people clap and enjoy when the antagonist swears at someone with foul language. The loudest cheer for the film comes when the lead Richard uses a profane word against the villain. Seriously? What’s there to celebrate here?
Even if your purpose is to indoctrinate the viewers with your agenda, you need to respect your script and give it its due; not doing so is what costs Draupathi!
Verdict: Not highly controversial but lacks a focused approach and better filmmaking could have helped!