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Baaram (2019)

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File:Baaram Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byPriya Krishnaswamy
Produced by
  • Priya Krishnaswamy
  • Ardra Swaroop
Written by
  • Priya Krishnaswamy
  • Rakav Mirdath
  • R. Raju
  • Sugumar Shanmugam
  • SuPa Muthukumar
  • Jayalakshmi
  • Stella Gobi
  • S. Nandini
  • Nataraj J
CinematographyJayanth Sethu Mathavan
Edited byPriya Krishnaswamy
Reckless Roses
Running time
91 minutes[1]

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Baaram (The Burden) is a 2019 Tamil feature film written, edited and directed by Priya Krishnaswamy. The film is based on the underground practice of Thalaikoothal - the killing of the infirm elderly by their own families in parts of rural Tamil Nadu. The film features more than 80 cast members, including some from Pondicherry University, and several non-actors.[2]


'Baaram' revolves around 64-year old Karuppasamy, a widowed night watchman who lives with his sister, Menmozhi, and her grown sons, Veera, Mani and Murugan, in a small town in Tamil Nadu. When returning from his shift early one morning, Karuppasamy is involved in a hit-and-run accident in which he breaks his hip. While his nephews want to have a hip plate operation performed in town, Karuppasamy’s son, Senthil, decides to take him home to the remote ancestral village where he lives with his wife Stella and their young daughter, saying that a traditional bone-setter will tend to his father. However, 8 days later, Karuppasamy is dead. At his funeral, Karuppasamy’s favorite nephew, Veera, an impetuous and idealistic trade unionist, hears something from one of the mourners that makes his blood run cold. And the burning question that faces him is – how did Karuppasamy die…?[3]


After making her debut feature film, 'Gangoobai', Priya Krishnaswamy chanced upon news items regarding the practice of Thalaikoothal in online news portals. Upon further research, she realised that Thalaikoothal, a phenomenon she had never heard of before, was, in fact, an ongoing cultural practice which enjoyed social sanction in wide swathes of rural Tamil Nadu. Concerned with the burgeoning problem of an ageing population in India, and a complete lack of social and medical infrastructure to cater to the elderly, she wrote the script in 2 weeks in mid-2016, and decided to produce the film herself, under her banner, Reckless Roses, in collaboration with Ardra Swaroop. Accordingly, they approached the Dept. of Performing Arts, Pondicherry University, where Priya conducted acting workshops, and succeeded in sourcing the main cast.[4] Additional roles, numbering more than 80, were played by local non-actors. The film was shot in a realistic style akin to the Dogme school of cinema, with long takes, handheld shots and sync sound. No dialog dubbing was done.[5] The film was shot on a RED Dragon camera in Pondicherry and its outskirts in 18 days in January 2017.

Festivals and awards[edit]

'Baaram' premiered in November 2018 in the Indian Panorama section of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, showcasing the best of Indian cinema.[6] It was also 1 of 2 Indian films nominated for the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal at the IFFI, Goa, 2018.[7] The ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal is an international competition section of IFFI that is evaluated by a jury in Paris.[8] A total of 12 films were nominated in 2018.

Critical reception[edit]

Cinestaan gave the film 4 out of 5 stars at the 49th IFFI, Goa, 2018, saying 'Baaram is a beautifully crafted social film which will make you question your own actions and rethink your stand on the grave subject of mercy killing.[9]


  1. "Baaram (2018)" – via www.imdb.com.
  2. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  3. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  4. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  5. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  6. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  7. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  8. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".
  9. "Baaram review: Mercy killing or cold-blooded murder?".

External links[edit]

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