Director: Leena Manimekalai
Genre: Drama, Mystery
India is a land of subaltern deities for and by clans and communities. Locally known as siru theivam in Tamil (small deities), these gods reign in every enclave of the subcontinent. Each small deity lends itself to unique legends related to its origin. These legends are often intertwined with Indian sociohistorical tropes. Individuals who sacrificed their lives for a greater cause of society; people whose extraordinary and honourable deeds paid with their martyrdom; or those who were victims of injustice and immortalized as local divinities. Puthiraivannaar is a chaste Dalit group living in the southern part of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Their occupation is to wash the clothes of other Dalits, the dead and menstruating women. The puthirvannars were forced to live in bushes so that others would not see them. Maadathy is their deity. This film is a story about a young girl who grew up in the Puthiraivannaar caste group and how she came to be immortalized as their local deity, Maadathy.
Leena Manimekalai is a poet and filmmaker committed to social justice. Her narrative documentaries on caste dynamics, gender, globalization, art therapy, student politics, ecofeminism, indigenous peoples’ rights and LGBTQ lives have won international acclaim and awards at international film festivals. Her first feature film, Sengadal / the Deadsea won the NAWFF award in Tokyo for Best Asian Women’s Film. One of her documentaries, Goddess, received the Golden Shell at MIFF, several nominations for the Horizon Award in Munich and the Asia Pacific Screen Award in Melbourne. For White Van Stories, an exclusive documentary about several disappearances in Sri Lanka, made by her, she received acclaim on platforms such as Channel 4 and Aljazeera. Leena has received the Charles Wal-lace Arts Award, the EU Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fellowship for her work in Film and Gender. She has published five collections of poetry and is currently editing her non-fiction feature film Rape Nation, which chronicles the lives and struggles of rape survivors across the Indian subcontinent. Maadathy- an un-fairy tale is her second fiction feature film.