‘Paruvu’ Series Review: A Hard-Hitting Family Drama About A Murder And The Casteist Society

Caste-related discrimination is rampant in many parts of the country. While there are Hindi films and other regional films that cover this topic, by and large south cinema’s stories usually get overlooked. In the past decade, many filmmakers from the Telugu and Tamil film industries have come up and have not shied away from talking about how deeply rooted caste-related discrimination, ostracization, and killings are. Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat, a classic Marathi film, tackles the subject of honor killing. Most recently, C/o Kancharapalem, directed by Venkatesh Maha, is a Telugu-language film that throws light on caste-based relationships and how society treats them. The Tamil industry is filled with many films that cover the subject in depth. Most of those films are hard to watch, but they show a mirror to our society. 

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Paruvu, the brand new Zee5 Global Telugu language family drama, was created by Pavan Sadineni and released on the platform on June 14, 2024. The eight-episode-long show is about a murder and the events that follow, which reveal the true nature of a family. The series begins with a couple, Vikram and Jahnavi, belonging to families from two ends of the political spectrum, choosing to elope. Sadly, they were caught. A few months later, Pallavi and her husband Sudheer are being taken to their hometown by her cousin Chandrashekhar, aka Chandu, to attend the funeral of her politically connected uncle. Chandu is hostile towards Pallavi for going against her family and marrying someone outside of her caste. He does not hide his hatred, even though she is three months pregnant. Chandu is killed at the hands of Sudheer and thus begins his and Pallavi’s ordeal to survive, hoping they will not be traced, caught, and convicted. Besides this, Chandu’s fiancée, Swati, is on the lookout for him. Chandu is a person of interest to many people as he is also a politically connected man. Do Pallavi and Sudheer get caught, or do they create an elaborate ruse to make sure they are not traced? Who finds out Chandu is dead? Why is Pallavi being shunned by her family?

All these intense questions are answered during the show. “Paruvu,” which means “honor,” is all about young men and women choosing to live with the person they love despite objections from their respective families. Sadly, it is the family, the local political parties, and society in general that decide the fate of such people. Writer Siddharth Naidu delves deep into the subject of caste-based issues that are still simmering amongst the educated middle-class and upper-middle-class families in Andhra Pradesh. The writer does not leave any stone unturned to discuss how caste-based brainwashing is rampant. Many still believe it is the right kind of social practice, and the people who defy it are ostracized and not treated with respect and dignity.

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The makers of the show also talk about the local politicians getting involved and making sure the issue is raised, which sends a message of caution in case one of the partners is killed. It was brave of the creator, Pavan Sadineni, to deal with the subject matter head on instead of layering it with complex innuendos. For a change, it is a woman who is fighting against her family, standing up for her husband, and not letting anyone from her family disrespect her or her spouse. The filmmaking and the writing are also in par with Drishyam, one of the most celebrated family thriller films of Indian cinema. In the show, two highly educated people who want to lead a simple life are now looking for methods to get rid of a dead body meticulously without leaving any trail that will get back to them. This seems slightly outlandish, but the realistic presentation of the subplot makes the audience believe this could happen. 

The political climate of the country is also covered in this show. The makers did not shy away from discussing how political parties and their leaders are reflective of what society is, and how they have now been given full freedom to advocate caste discrimination. It also covers how women themselves are also perpetrators of this issue. Patriarchy has seeped into the system and society. Women don’t  stand up for their gender and are a part of this heinous social system. The director and the writer did the smart thing by not trying to directly portray young men and women being put through torture and threats. It is through dialogue and words that the audience can assess the trauma of being purposely kept away from family and their place of birth. The constant ridicule and chastising have a severe effect on people, and the makers of the show make sure it is raised and spoken about. 

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The screenplay, however, does go back and forth many times and begins to mess with the timelines. The narrative had to be well structured for us to understand what was happening and when. The confusion only ruins the engagement factor. The inconsistency in the screenplay is also seen when Pallavi, the lead of the show, disappears from the narrative for some time before suddenly appearing in the last episode. These are some of the technical errors. There is also a lot of beating around the bush, which stalls the narrative. Several questions are not answered. The ending of the show is good, yet the maker had to dramatize it, which is a slight letdown. It also sets Paruvu up for a season two, indicating the saga is far from over. 

The cinematography by Vidyasagar Chinta is simple and realistic, which adds drama to the already intense storytelling. The editing is slightly dodgy as the timelines keep jumping, and it further messes with the watchability. Along with the strong screenplay, it is the performances that elevate Paruvu, coupled with realistic direction by Siddharth Naidu and Vadlapati Rajashekar. The direction is intense, which allows the viewers to get an understanding of how people treat each other. There is hardly any discrepancy in the direction, and that is the beauty of the show. 

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As mentioned above, the performances are of another league and probably among the best to have come out of South Indian regional cinema. Nivetha Pethuraj, as Pallavi, is excellent as a strong woman who was raised in a politically connected family. She is aware of her powers and does not let anyone control her life. She charted her destiny and is proud of it. Nagendra Babu, as Rammaya, has delivered an arresting performance, as his presence could send shivers down the spine. He is a staunch orthodox leader who is used to arm-twisting people and situations to his benefit using his influence. Naresh Agastya, as Sudheer, is excellent as a man who no one expected to have what it takes to carry out any crime. His performance has a Georgekutty quality from Drishyam, and it is interesting how he made the character his own. Sunil Kommisetty, as Chandrashekhar, aka Chandu, is also yet another standout performer. 

Paruvu is hard-hitting, and many scenes will stay with the audience long after the show is over. The show is honest and raw about the subject matter it is dealing with. Give Paruvu a watch.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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