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Draupathi Movie Synopsis: A man who has been sent to prison for murdering his wife in the name of honour killing comes out on bail and starts killing a few people. Who are the men he is murdering and what has it got to do with his wife’s oath?
Draupathi Movie Review: Draupathi begins with a news flash about Rudra Prabhakaran (Richard), a silambam teacher in a village, who has murdered his own wife and her sister in the name of honour killing. The action cuts to six months later when Prabhakaran comes out of prison on bail. He moves to Chennai, where he begins to pose as a tea seller, observing the activities at a registrar’s office. Soon, we see him tracking down two men and killing them. An undercover cop is tasked with investigating these murders. Meanwhile, an independent journalist, who is making a short film on Prabhakaran and his wife Draupathi (Sheela Rajkumar) smells something fishy in the murders. What is Prabhakaran after?
Draupathi has already whipped up curiosity (and controversy) thanks to its provocative trailer, which seemed to indicate a pro-honour killing stance. But the film isn’t as explosive as its trailer portrayed it to be. The controversial bits are muted. This is a good thing in the sense that the film doesn’t come across as a story from the privileged castes’ point of view (though there are caste markers to show that this entirely isn’t a casteist film). The film’s target is rackets that exploit caste tensions to make money. They fake marriage certificates and use them to blackmail the hapless family of young women.
The first half has the vibe of a vigilante thriller and is engaging. These segments have the assuredness that Mohan G showed in his debut film, Pazhaya Vannarapettai. Even if the narration feels familiar, the mystery surrounding Prabhakaran and the death of Draupathi keep us invested.
But in the second half, the film turns into a drama where message gains preference over storytelling; in short, a docudrama-meets-melodrama movie. In the process, the intensity is lost in the narration. Scenes become long-winded and even portions that should have provided an idea of the modus operandi of the bad guys don’t feel that revelatory; they even begin to feel repetitive.
The performances, save for Sheela Rajkumar’s, aren’t forceful. Richard hardly brings out the anger that should be inside Prabhakaran; the rest of the performances, too, are surficial. And things turn long-winded after a point, especially after the film turns into a courtroom drama.