Among the most striking features of Tamil Nadu cinema – apart from that it found its voice in the early 2000s – is a tendency to present the countryside in a markedly different way from before – decidedly less idyllic, as a world steeped in exploitation and often meaningless archaic rules. Vagabond also takes time into account by offering a look at the lives of peasants and migrant workers during the later stages of the Raj – a vision that shows clearly how everybody contributed to a system of exploitation bordering on slave labour.
Here’s Rasa, a young man from the villages, looking for a job on a tea plantation where he finds little but miserable wages and all kinds of maltreatment and abuse. Vagabond might be set in the times of British rule, but it can profitably be read as a more general allegory on politics and abuse of power.
Also see I Am God.