by Venkat Rajan
Veeran, a ten-year-old boy, is caught in the vicious cycle of poverty and prejudice. He lives in Varambiam, an obscure village in southern Tamil Nadu, India, subjected to caste distinctions and tending to the everyday chores of the village Zamindar. The village chief however, has now lost all his wealth and faded into oblivion.
Bala, the ten-year-old grandson of the patriarch, visits the village house to escape the squalid ghetto and travails of daily living faced by his family in the big city, Chennai.
Bala finds a friend in Veeran, in Sevapan the family steer who is deaf, in Tiger – the dog who is the stolid guardian of the family, and in Joseph – the railway gatekeeper with his utopian socialist leanings. Bala silently witnesses the consequences of his family’s hubristic past and the state of ignominy the village head is pushed into. The boys of Varambiam share important life lessons and make a secret wish.
Bala, now a grown man, has moved to Mumbai with his wife.
Will he ever meet with Veeran again? Will their secret wish come true?
“Venkat Rajan paints a colorful vignette in ‘The Mud Elephant’. A distinct Indian coloring at it. The tone is humorous, detached and ironic. Rajan as a raconteur, actually unfolds a Dickensian narrative, providing a social context and an amazing feel for his characters.”
Joy Augustine, Filmmaker