‘Label’ Episodes 1, 2, And 3 Recap & Ending Explained: What Was Pathaalam’s Real Identity?

The Tamil-language series Label is a gory portrayal of the gangster saga of North Chennai. Director Anuraja Kamaraja brings style and substance to a show that raises a very important issue: that of your roots and the identity one gets from them. The series revolves around a lawyer named Prabhakaran, who was once wrongfully implicated in a murder case while he was a juvenile. Years later, he studied hard to become an excellent lawyer who focused especially on bringing justice to those who were being wrongfully persecuted. Meanwhile, he was also trying to improve the image of the region he hails from—a grim area of North Chennai known as Vaali Nagar, where juveniles were groomed by two rival gangs, a practice rampant in the present day as well; all this in exchange for a tag, otherwise called the Label.

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Spoilers Ahead


How Did Young Prabhakaran End Up In The Juvenile Center?

Vaali Nagar was changing for the worse. Think about how ‘Rocket’ spent his life in the “City of God”. The same could be said for Prabhakaran. He was a small lad and played football with boys twice his size. He didn’t know it that day, but soon he was going to see a murder committed in front of his eyes, which would change his life. A few other boys murdered the Assistant Commissioner of Police in broad daylight while he was exercising in the field. Many ran, but he and the murdering herd were caught eventually. Young Prabhakaran, who had just scored a goal, was too stunned to move, and the police could not discern whether he was involved in the murder or not. They didn’t care. They took everybody and put them through the nerve-wracking legal process. Prabhakaran stayed in the juvenile center until it was proven who the leader of the pack was. He was a boy named Nagendran, who was the goalkeeper in the match that afternoon. Prabhakaran’s confidence was shattered, but thanks to his teacher at school, his passion for studies was reignited, and he was shown a purpose in life. He was worried that now that he had been in jail, his future was doomed, but his teacher made him understand that he had a golden opportunity to change society. So, Prabhakaran decided to become a lawyer and help the oppressed.

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What Were The Major ‘Labels’?

When Prabhakaran was growing up, two gangs fought for supremacy in North Chennai. Their main aim was to control all the businesses and the money that came in through the liquor and quarrying industries. The original gangsters had the most prestigious Labels. The split was between Senguttuvan and Ayya. Both had their own subordinates who continued the fight for supremacy. Over the years, new members had joined the group. Senguttuvan had two major players under his wing: a heavyset man named Pathaalam and another man named Kokkithopu Aadhi. Nobody exactly knew who Ayya was except that he was a lawyer, and it was later revealed that he was the bald man who fought cases in the same court Prabhakaran fought most of his cases in. Ayya’s main man was Bunk Suresh, who operated from prison, with his favorite weapon of choice being the youngsters from Vaali Nagar, who would do anything to get his Label. If the gang had to kill anyone in North Chennai, then they drew the ‘sketch’ of that person, meaning they planned a lethal attack on them.


How Did Prabhakaran Save Veera And Kumar?

Prabhakaran was working tirelessly to present a different image of Vaali Nagar. He looked not only after his father and stepmother but also after the youngsters, provided guidance when they were in need, and planned to hold a cultural festival, hoping the coverage would shift from the violence to these upbeat activities upholding the local culture and tradition. When he met Mahita, the local TV reporter, he grew a little impatient, as she was going to do the same old sensationalist story on Vaali Nagar. But he managed to show her the other side of Vaali Nagr, and she uploaded the videos of the grand celebration onto her channel’s social media page, risking the editor’s scathing remarks. Prabhakaran was doing his bit in the courts too, saving people from fraudulent cases where the police were known to arrest people from Vaali Nagar, even for crimes they definitely didn’t commit. Everything was moving towards the better until Veera and Kumar, two educated young men from the area, decided to execute the rival gang member Tamil Selvan’s ‘sketch’. The amateurs didn’t succeed and ended up in the police station. Prabhakaran begged the local police inspector to let the youngsters go. Prabhakaran had taken responsibility for their future behavior, and it didn’t go well.

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What Was Pathaalam’s Real Identity?

Tamil Selvan’s gang wasn’t done with Veera and Kumar. On another day of the festival, he sent his men to kill them off, but the plan backfired, and Veera and Kumar ended up killing his men. This happened in front of Prabhakaran’s eyes. The people he was so desperately trying to save from violence had ultimately fallen into its abyss. As a lawyer, he tried to get them out on the pretext of self-defense but knew that Vaali Nagar’s image had been tarnished again. Mahita helped by providing video evidence that showed that Veera and Kumar did the killing in self-defense, but the festival had to be abandoned nonetheless.

Before this case, one other thing had occurred that was bothering Prabhakaran. He had filed the examination form to become a judge, which was to be conducted very soon. But a magistrate raised a discrepancy in his criminal record, saying that his parents had bribed the main accused in the commissioner’s murder, which is why he confessed. He accused Prabhakaran of foul play on the basis of an anonymous report and asked him to bring proof before the final interview of the judge’s examination. Prabhakaran started to look for Nagendran, while Veera and Kumar were getting sucked into Bunk Suresh’s gang in jail.

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When Prabhakaran got Veera and Kumar out of jail, they had only one goal in mind: to earn Bunk Suresh’s Label. This is why they contacted the lawyer, Ayya, asking permission to draw a sketch of Pathaalam. After a green light, they attacked Pathaalam, who was known to be the most feared killer on Senguttuvan’s Label. But the duo succeeded. On the lawful side of things, Prabhakaran tried to locate Nagendra, the goalkeeper, who was the main accused in his juvenile case, in order to get his statements about not having received any bribe to confess to the murder. In the files, however, it was revealed that Nagendra had grown up to become Pathaalam, the same one who had just been murdered. He was the only one who could have testified in Prabhakaran’s case, and now the tag of being a criminal loomed large on Prabhakaran. Also, his reputation as a lawyer was at stake, as this was the second time Veera and Kumar would bring his character into question. Perhaps the tag of being a vermin from Vaali Nagar wasn’t going to leave him very soon. In the following episodes, there is a high probability that he will face a probe, and Veera and Kumar will formally earn the Label from Bunk Suresh, making them official members of the Ayya gang. Soon, Senguttuvan will retaliate, and my gut feeling is that Prabhakaran will get entangled in the mess.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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