‘Rebel’ (2024) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Was Kadhir’s Ultimate Plan?

Rebel is a Keralian film crafted by Nikesh R S, highlighting the atrocities faced by the Tamilians at the hands of the Malayalis during the 80s. A peek into the history of the Tamilians in Munnar will expose the brutalities faced by them while working at the tea estates. Their struggles for basic rights like education have been brought to the forefront through this film. The plot revolves around a young Tamilian boy’s dreams of completing his studies to land a job and lead a decent life. The way he struggles for the rights of his fellow Tamil students makes up the plot of Rebel


Spoilers Ahead

What Is The History Of The Tamilians In Kerala?

Under British rule in India, the country was divided into three presidencies: Vangam (Bengal), Bombay, and Madras. Several riots arose as people wanted the states to be divided as per language. Later, India was segmented based on 14 languages, and 6 Union territories were formed. The Tamilians in Munnar were waiting to become a part of Tamil Nadu and pleaded to be included in the state. The Government of Kerala refused to let them go to Tamil Nadu, as the state had just given up Kanyakumari to Tamil Nadu. The Tamilians were driven to work on tea plantations to survive the famine. Despite the Kerala Government trying to give the Tamilians proper education and equality in the state, communal disparities were rampant. 


How Were Selva And Kadhir Treated At College?

After Selva and Kadhir got admission to Chittur College in Palakkad, their parents were happy that they were going to get a good life after their education. Many other Tamil boys from their village also went to study at the college. The chairman of the KSQ party, Anthony, promised all the students that they would give them good facilities in the college and wouldn’t discriminate between Tamils and Malayalis. However, the Tamils were subjected to humiliations later, proving that Anthony was just giving a false image of his party by talking about equality. 

The Tamil boys from the plantations were made to live in inhumane conditions. Their hostels were different from those of the Malayali students, and they were mentally tortured by Anthony and his group. Anthony called Selva and asked him to dance, but when he said that he didn’t understand Malayali songs, he was humiliated. Selva was made to enact his father’s profession of being a sewage cleaner, and the others were made to guess it so that he would be humiliated for it. 


The only person who seemed to be a bit compassionate toward the Tamilians in college was Sarah. The compassionate Sarah attracted Kadhir, and he decided to propose to her on Onam. The Tamilians decided to wear dhotis like the Malayalis during Onam and celebrate it along with them. But when Anthony saw them, he chased them down for wearing dhotis and wanting to join their festival. When they got caught, Anthony and his boys took the dhotis off the Tamilians and beat them up mercilessly.  After this event, the Tamilians were extremely scared and wanted to join the SFY party, but later got to know that even they were not fit to stand by. They learned that the chairman of the SFY, Charlie, had pulled off a girl’s (Geetha’s) skirt on stage and humiliated her. The girls didn’t feel safe around the SFY, and later the students voted for KSQ to bring it to power. However, no matter which group came to power, it was ultimately the Tamil students who would have to suffer. 

What Happened To Selva?

The Tamilians were jeered at in the college for their dhotis being pulled off. However, only Geetha showed some compassion and wanted to develop her bond with Kadhir. While she was making Kadhir listen to a Tamil song that she had recorded, something unfortunate befell Selva. Kadhir came to know that someone had beaten up Selva mercilessly when he had gone to the washroom. While Kadhir was rushing him to the hospital, he told him that when he went to the washroom, Anthony and his boys had ganged up against him and tortured him. They had plucked out the hair from his chest and beaten him up mercilessly. Anthony kept telling him that he shouldn’t have touched him (in an act of protest) with his dirty hands while their dhotis were being pulled off. 


After Selva succumbed to his injuries, Anthony’s party members bribed the principal and the doctor to declare his death to be natural. Later, the police told the Tamil boys that Selva had died from a head injury from slipping inside the bathroom. Kadhir and the other boys went back to the estate with their friend’s body and decided to take revenge on Selva’s murderers. The Tamil boys trashed the boys of both parties, but before they could get their hands on Anthony, the election was declared in the college. There was a complete change in the tones of both parties, and both Charlie and Anthony approached the Tamilians for their votes, apologizing to them for the incident!

Why Did Kadhir Form TSP?

Amidst the chaos of the campaigns of both SFY and KSQ, Kadhir decided to start a new party, TSP. He made Barathi (a third-year student) the Chairman, and even Geetha came to their support. Kadhir was, however, disappointed to find out that Sarah was representing the SFY. However, the TSP faced severe opposition from both parties, and they even tried to hamper their campaigns. The SFY party burned their hostel rooms and banners to stop them from participating in the elections.


Initially, both parties were not too worried about the TSP, as they thought that they would never be able to win the elections! Later, the TSP prepared banners, reminding people how they were tortured by both parties. They had made visual representations of Anthony and Charlie tormenting the Tamilian students, torturing women, and killing Selva. The paintings on the banners attracted the attention of the students, reminding them of the evils that both SFY and KSQ were associated with. 

Charlie saw Kadhir’s party as a threat to the SFY and tried to manipulate him to join it, but when that didn’t happen, he tried other ways. He reached out to the bigger heads of SFY and made him call Kadhir’s father in the estate, reminding him how the Communist Party had stood by the poor people. Kadhir’s father was asked to tell his son to withdraw from his party and unite with SFY. However, when his father called Kadhir, asking him to side with the SFY, he refused, saying he would side with the oppressed students in his college. 


What Did A.K. Nayanar Do To Stop TSP?

The MLA of Palakkad district, A.K. Nayanar, was brought to the college by Anthony to help him get an upper hand in the elections. Udhayakumar (a Tamilian professor) warned Kadhir about A.K. Nayanar, saying that he had burned a guy alive for damaging the KSQ party flag and that he didn’t let anyone from SFY raise a flag during his reign! 

Later, when A.K. Nayanar got to know that a new party had been formed, he was furious. He immediately called the estate in Munnar, where the parents of the TSP members worked, and asked the owner to fire them. When the helpless people were fired and taken out of their homes, they started calling their sons for help. This weakened the hearts of the TSP members, and they all decided to go back home. Kadhir also went to Udhayakumar and submitted his party withdrawal letter. 


While the Tamil students were leaving for the estate, the police arrested them and blamed them for burning the party offices of KSQ and SFY. A.K. Nayanar called the police, asked them to file an FIR, and beat them up black and blue. While the poor Tamil students were being trashed inside the jail, the SFY and the KSQ had been carrying out their campaigns. Meanwhile, the people from the estate came to the college to ask about their sons. They talked about the toil and struggles they had gone through to educate their sons. Kadhir’s mother said that her son had not formed the party to gain power but just to be able to finish his education in peace. The pleas of the helpless parents moved the students of the college. When the parents and the students caused chaos outside the police station to release the boys, the police had no option but to do so.  

What Was Kadhir’s Ultimate Plan?

It was actually Kadhir’s plan to burn the party offices and then get arrested and beaten up to gain the sympathy of the students. He knew that their parents’ pleas wouldn’t go unheard, and then they would all be released. Later, Sarah apologized to Kadhir, saying that she didn’t know that her party was involved in such terrible acts, and she promised to support him in completing his education. 


Meanwhile, SFY and KSQ had joined hands after getting to know Kadhir’s plan to gain sympathy. They caused a riot in college, sending thugs on campus to threaten and kill the members of TSP. When Kadhir was informed about it, instead of fleeing the college, he decided to fight the opposition party members along with his fellow TSP members. Later, the TSP was able to take off the KSQ flag and hoist their own flag on the college campus after beating them to a pulp. However, the elections were canceled due to the riot on campus, and the Tamil students were finally able to reclaim their rights. 

Final Words

Much like any other South Indian action film, Rebel is packed with action scenes. However, besides the element of action, the film has a message to stop the communal hatred that is rampant even in the present day. It is our duty to ensure that the hatred based solely on different languages is mitigated. At the end of the day, we all share one flag, and hence it is our responsibility to uphold the integrity of the nation and be more tolerant towards each other. 


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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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