indian cinema heritage foundation

Dikkatra Parvathi (1974)

  • Release Date14/06/1974
  • GenreFamily
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageTamil
  • Run Time106 min
  • Length3048 meters
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number67366
  • Certificate Date31/12/1973

The story espouses the evils of liquor. Parvathi (Lakshmi) is a happy girl just married to a very loving husband Karuppan (Srikanth). With kind parents-in-law and a doting husband, her life is blissful. As per village tradition, they are made to reside in a separate house in the village by their elders. Soon, Parvathi is blessed with a child. To increase his earnings for the welfare of the child, Karuppan decides to buy a cart, though Parvathi is unwilling, asserting that it is better to be contented with what they have. However, Karuppan goes ahead, takes a loan from the village head, and buys a bullock cart for Rs. 400/-. He uses the cart to transport goods to the market and his earnings improve considerably. Initially, everything looks rosy. However, during one of his trips back home, his cousin initiates him into drinking at a toddy shop. Though Karuppan is reluctant, the cousin convinces him of the need to enjoy life. Karuppan slowly gets addicted to liquor. Parvathi's life changes into one of hardship and woe; she tries to reform Karuppan but fails. Karuppan continues to drink every day, due to which he is unable to settle the loan taken from the village head. His bullocks are also underfed and weak, so they are unable to transport goods; hence his earnings from the cart reduce drastically. 

One day, Karuppan realizes his mistakes and apologizes to Parvathi. She gives him her gold bangles, using which he buys new bullocks from the market. However, the village head's men, come and seize these animals towards the unpaid loan. Karuppan pleads, but the village head insists that Karuppan must clear his loan before the animals are released. 

Left with no choice, Karuppan goes to Khader ('Poornam' Viswanathan), a money lender in the village, and takes a new loan at high usurious interest; using this amount, he settles his loan with the village head and brings his bullocks back. He also resolves not to drink in the future and earn enough to repay his loan installments. 

To earn additional money for the family, Parvathi also decides to work. She works at a construction site managed by Khader's son Ismail (Y.G. Mahendran). Ismail falls in love with Parvathi and tries to come closer to her, which she rejects. Parvathi's happiness is shortlived as Karuppan reverts to his drinking habit and does not pay his installments to Khader. When Khader sends Ismail to Karuppan's house to collect the loan dues, Ismail uses this opportunity to regularly visit Parvathi's house and pursue her. 

Karuppan and Parvathi's child falls sick and is undergoing treatment. Once, while bringing medicine for his child, Karuppan is again enticed by the toddy shop. He sends the medicine home through another villager and enters the shop. As his son does not get the medicine on time, he dies. Karuppan returns home late and realizes that his son died since the medicine did not reach him in time. 

Parvathi's life becomes tragic as Karuppan is unable to repay the loan. Ismail takes advantage of Karuppan's increasingly abominable attitude towards Parvathi and keeps visiting her every day, but Parvathi does not yield to his advances. One evening, Ismail lands up at her house knowing that Karuppan is away and tries to molest her. Parvathi initially tries to resist, but helplessly surrenders to Ismail as Karuppan's neglect has made her move towards Ismail. When Karuppan arrives that night, he sees Ismail in his home and throws a scythe at him, nearly killing Ismail. Karuppan is arrested for trying to kill Ismail. 

Parvathi is rejected by her in-laws and also by her brother's family. Alone, she struggles to get her husband released. On the assurance of a lawyer that it will facilitate the release of her husband, she gives an untrue statement in court, stating that Ismail tried to molest her, due to which Karuppan attacked him. However, the court rejects her contradictory statements and awards Karuppan six years imprisonment for attempt to murder. Karuppan gets angry and accuses Parvathi of spoiling his life. Parvathi, feeling guilty for all the happenings in her life, climbs up a hill and ends her troubles by committing suicide as her retribution.

[from the book Pride of Tamil Cinema: 1931 to 2013 by G Dhananjayan, Blue Ocean Publishers, 2014]