‘Harkara’ (2023) Summary & Ending Explained: Who Was Madeswaran?

Harkara means the bearer of messages, and the story revolves around the lives of two postmen belonging to different time zones. How the villagers of Keezh Malai respect the postmaster, Kaali, despite his hatred towards them in the beginning, moves us. Written by Ram Arun Castro, Ma. Kamadhurai and M. Vediayappan, the Tamil historical drama, is replete with elements of patriotism and passion, which seemed to have drawn in elements similar to those of RRR. However, unlike RRR, Harkara has not been stretched out unnecessarily. Ram Arun Castro played the main role of Madeswaran, along with other renowned actors like Kaali Venkat, Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan, and others. How did the villagers gain their faith in Madeswaran, their village deity? Let us find out what events led to the villagers’ beliefs and how that helped change Kaali as a person.  

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Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Kaali Dislike The Villagers Initially?

The new postmaster of Keezh Malai, Kaali, was annoyed by the way the villagers led their lives. He thought that they were stuck in the past because of their extremely simple lifestyle. He would be annoyed at the extreme reliance of the villagers on him as a messenger. The villagers came up to him with weird demands. Once, a lady came up to him to ask for extra money so that she could feed her cattle. Another man came up to him to find a suitable match for his daughter at the top of a hill. A young man also once came up to him to ask him if any letter had come for a lady named Mariyammal who lives in Idamalai. He did not understand the significance of the problems that the villagers faced or the way they relied on him for such little things. He was also annoyed by another man who would follow him around every day. Later, he was told that the man had once taken a government exam and had lost his mental stability while waiting for a reply with the results. Kaali was so irritated by the people always coming to him for help that he wrote a secret letter to the government on behalf of the people regarding opening a bank rather than a post office and took everyone’s thumb impression secretly on the letter. Kaali feels a sense of sympathy for the villagers and values their simple lifestyle when he later becomes aware of their history and how a former messenger, Madeswaran, had become their deity whom they worshiped.

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What Changed Kaali’s Point Of View? Who Was Madeswaran?

While going up the hill of Idamalai to deliver a letter to Mariyammal, he got a co-passenger who offered to show him the route. While they were en route, he was struggling to climb up and casually asked who had carved out the road in the middle of the jungle. That is when he came to learn of the sacrifices of Madeswaran, a true patriot. He was told that Madeswaran was a messenger who worked for the British about 150 years ago. He was naive and did not know about the atrocities that the British were inflicting on the Indians. He also thought of the British lord at the Dak Bungalow, John Durai, as a good man and served him as a loyal servant. His father-in-law was anti-British and had explained to Madeswaran how they were being looted over the years by some fellow Indian accomplices, like the overseer Kalimuthu, who were only taking care of their own interests.

He did not believe it till the lord at the bungalow took a liking to how the Indians were being tortured. Madeswaran was asked to save the life of one of his friends by playing a sport, and if he won, then his life would be spared. He understood the deep-rooted hatred that the white-skinned had for the Indians and took on a pledge to fight against them. Later, the lord gave him some important documents to bring to a location safely. After taking them to the required location, he hid them in a temple. This resulted in the tragic deaths of his family and other friends at the hands of the torturous Lord John. He was frantically searching for Madeswaran, initially nowhere to be found, but then they found him and killed him brutally. He bore such excruciating pain but refused to divulge the whereabouts of the documents. The tale of his sacrifice for his motherland and his people moved Kaali, and he started believing in the legend of Madeswaran.

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What Did Kaali Find On Reaching Atop The Hill?

On reaching his destination, he met Mariyammal, who was an old lady. Her face lit up at the sight of the postmaster, and she said that she had been waiting for the past 4 years for a messenger like him to arrive with her letter from the government. It turns out that she had been waiting for her pension after her husband died, who she claims was also a postmaster like Kaali. She also says that once, when she had gone down the hill to collect her pension, she had fallen into a pit and broken her hip. We see the dependence of the people and the faith that they have in the postmaster. He is moved by the ray of hope that he has rekindled among the old people of the village, who can now enjoy their pensions. He is later requested by the old lady to take her to the temple atop the hill to see Madeswaran and take his blessings. We see an immense change in Kaali after reaching the shrine of Madeswaran, and he is filled with guilt for having sent a secret appeal to a bank on behalf of the villagers. He feels immensely relieved when the letter comes back to him because he put the wrong address in it.


What Makes The Villagers Look Up To The Postmaster?

The faith and trust that Madeswaran, a messenger and the harbinger of happiness, had lit in the hearts of the villagers had never gone out. They looked up to their postmasters as messengers of God who would look after all their needs just like Madeswaran. We could see the faith of the villagers in him when Ganesan, a literate young man of the village, signed the paper given to him by Kaali without reading it even once. The lady who had borrowed the money from him for her cattle gave it back to him, and when Kaali talks about a machine entry of the fund, she says that she trusts him. Looking at the simplicity of the villagers and the immense faith that they have in him, Kaali changes his way of looking at the villagers and values their worth. On hearing about the legend of Madeswaran, he understands why the village folks look up to him and expect him to be their protector in times of need.

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There are some speculations of changes that might have happened in Kaali after the climax. Even though he was not a vile character at the beginning of the film, he must have become a better human being, thinking about the needs of others and living selflessly. He could better anticipate the issues that the villagers might face if he left the village. However, Harkara could further show him to have been leading a happy and simple life in the village. During Harkara‘s ending, Kaali, however, just says that he will find a girl from the village and settle there and there ignites an expectation among the audience to see his bride. 


Final Words

Harkara has all the typical elements of Kollywood, including action, some dashes of romance, action, thrills, and more action! However, the film is a tribute to the patriotism of all Indian forefathers, who fought and toiled so hard to free the country from the clutches of brutal British rule. The responsibility that we, as individuals, have towards our motherland rings right through the film. The sense of duty that the legend of Madeswaran instilled in Kaali, transforming him as a character and changing his viewpoint, is a strong element in the movie. There are no major elements that I found missing from the film, making it a complete entertainer!

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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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