Thevan In ‘Bramayugam’ Explained: Who Was The Goblin?

Rahul Sadasivan’s Bramayugam is a brilliant folk horror movie that will instantly pull you into its mystical world with a creepy and eerie atmosphere, all shown in black and white. I believe the absence of color serves more than just adding to the horror element; it highlights the sense of nothingness within the situation. This lack of color signifies the emptiness of the mystical mansion, where no trees grow, no man can live, and only graves full of dead bodies remain. And who is residing there? An upper-caste goblin and his cook. The film resembles other cinematic worlds like Tumbaad or The Lighthouse. Here, the horror of nothingness is most intense when Thevan, a lower-caste court singer, enters the mansion and finds himself trapped within its walls, unable to escape. He feels danger lurking around him, with no one to hear his screams, his pain, or his silenced cries. Through Thevan’s character, we witness how, in the course of Bramayugam, God has no power and corruption in 17th-century society prevails the most. In this godless realm, only casteism thrives, with the higher caste holding all the power like gods, while the lower caste is treated as the filthy dregs of society.

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Spoilers Ahead


How Did Thevan Come To The Mansion? 

We are introduced to Thevan at the beginning of the movie, a folk singer who used to perform in the courts of palaces. He comes from the low Paanan caste. Along with his friend Kora, he tried to escape slavery after a war broke out because running away was the only option for low-caste individuals back then, as they were often enslaved by the upper-caste people. However, in the middle of the jungle, Kora is attacked by a Yakshi, a supernatural entity, while Thevan manages to escape. Little did he know, there was more in store for him! After crossing a stream and a dense, dark jungle, Thevan comes across an old, grand mansion. Exhausted and hungry from his journey, he breaks a coconut and begins to eat. However, the mansion’s cook spots him and introduces him to the lord of the mansion, Kodumon Potti, an upper-caste Brahmin. The moment Kodumon Potti appears on screen, dressed in a white dhoti with a string of beads around his neck and wearing a crooked smile, it’s clear he belongs to the upper caste. Thevan naturally bows his head, understanding that making eye contact with someone of a higher caste is considered taboo. Thevan addresses him as “master,” explaining how he ended up there and expressing gratitude for the kindness shown to him. Kodumon Potti, displaying a wise facade, explains that one doesn’t become a Brahmin solely by birth but by deeds. He assures Thevan that he is not like other Brahmins and considers Thevan nothing less than a guest. To Kodumon Potti, Thevan’s caste, lineage, and heritage have no meaning. This progressive mindset surprises Thevan. He thought of himself as lucky, believing that perhaps his own good karma had led him to receive such hospitality from the Brahmin “master.”

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What Breaks The Myth About The Master Being A Kind Man? 

After entering the mansion with the cook’s guidance, Thevan notices that there is literally no one there except for them. There are bats flying around and big spider webs, along with the continuous sound of iron chains clanking coming from the upper floor of the mansion. The cook tells him not to loiter around the palace at night and to avoid going to the southern wing of the mansion, as those who went there have never returned. During supper, the class division becomes clear: the master, being a Brahmin, sits on a chair while Thevan sits on the floor, grateful that his master has not beaten him to death but instead is feeding him. How lucky he is! Thevan tells the master that he thinks it’s by God’s grace that he came here. However, the master immediately becomes enraged upon hearing this, saying there is no God in this Bramayugam. Everything that has happened to him is due to fate and the master’s grace. This statement triggers fear in Thevan, making him question the master’s kindness. If the master doesn’t believe in God and sees himself as the higher power, could he be corrupted? The next day, the master challenges Thevan to a game of dice. If Thevan wins, he can leave the mansion, but if he loses, he must stay forever. This makes him tense because he can’t stay here; his mother is waiting for him at home. He discusses this with the cook, but the cook provides a horrific explanation: the master is an imposter who will betray him, emotionally manipulate him, and eventually kill him. At first, Thevan doesn’t believe the cook’s words. However, later that night, during supper, he sees how the master eats like a pig and asks for more food. When the cook refuses him, the master flies into a rage, accusing the cook of dishonoring him, strangling him, and calling him a lowlife, filth, and disgrace to society. This incident opens Thevan’s eyes: the master is no different from the others who exploit and degrade lower-caste people for their own gain, feeding on their powerlessness.


Why Did Thevan Think Of Escaping The Mansion? 

Thevan knew he couldn’t stay in the mansion forever; he had to return to his mother. So, he tried to flee, but he began vomiting and screaming from the pain in his abdomen, unable to run away, and was forced to return to the mansion. Upon his return, he pleaded with the master, saying, “Grant me your permission; allow me to leave.” But instead of sympathy, the master gives him this chilling smile, like he is loving every minute of his misery. It’s like something out of a nightmare! This portrayal shows the power dynamics between a higher authority and a slave, where, despite Thevan holding onto the master’s feet and crying, the master cruelly declares that he will never allow him to leave. Thevan realizes he’s trapped here for eternity. Later, Thevan realizes he has forgotten his own name, his own identity; the only name he knows here is “master.” He doesn’t even remember how or when he arrived. He understands he has become a mere puppet, a pawn in the master’s game, where he holds no power. Then, the cook reveals the shocking truth about the master: he’s no human but a goblin disguised as Kodumon Potti, the mansion’s owner. Kodumon Potti’s father, Chudalan Potti, called upon the goddess Varahi, who bestowed upon him a goblin trapped in a magic box to grant him wishes. He tortured the goblin, chaining it in irons, until the goblin became frustrated and killed him, along with his entire bloodline. When Kodumon Potti tried to trap it, he met the same fate, and the goblin took his guise. Thus, the place is cursed, and those who attempt to leave ultimately die. The only way to escape is to find an ever-flaming lamp in the underground chamber beneath the great hall and extinguish it to break out of the goblin’s power, which will allow both of them to escape.

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At the end of the film, it is seen that the cook is none other than the illegitimate son of Kodumon Potti, who was born to a lower-class woman. By taking away the key to the underground chamber from the goblin and extinguishing the flame of the lamp, both Thevan and the cook managed to defeat the goblin. However, when the cook attempts to remove the ring from the goblin’s hand, Thevan fights him back, believing that whoever wears it will be corrupted forever. He knows that commoners like himself always become victims of the powerful, just like this. Meanwhile, the mansion collapses on Thevan, killing him. But here’s the twist: the goblin takes on Thevan’s appearance and manages to escape wearing the ring. This turn of events symbolizes something profound. It suggests that Thevan, who was once mild, calm, and opposed to corruption, may now hold power and become part of the corrupt elite, disguised as the goblin. Through his horrifying experience in the mansion, he realizes that he must stand against the oppressive power structures that have enslaved lower castes for centuries. He refuses to tolerate being labeled a lowlife anymore.


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Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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