South Indian movies have also dealt with the issue of labour and their plight at various occasions. Kanchivaram is a film that throws light on the helplessness of the working class in the grip of a heartless feudal system.
It is a tale of a weaver in the silk town of Kanchivaram who is always working amidst eye-catching hues to make yards of lustrous silk for the prosperous while his own life is dull and colourless. Silk weavers are only paid a very low sum rupees for each silk saree woven. This means that despite being weavers, they can’t afford, nor even see the silk saree being worn by other people
Set in the 1940s with flashbacks going back still further, Kanchivaram is a heart-rending tale of Vengadam (Prakash Raj), Annam (Shreya Reddy), and daughter Thamarai (Shammu). In their community the vow a father makes at the time of his child’s birth is meant to be kept at all cost. And Vengadam in his moment of joy promises his new-born daughter a silk sari at the time of her wedding. The entire neighbourhood is aghast and thinks Vengadam is out of his mind. With no option in sight he steals a strand of silk every day and begins to weave a sari for his daughter. Wife dies, daughter grows up, and all the while his weaving and thieving continue …Excellent underplay marks the performance of Prakash Raj, who essays the difficult role of the poverty-stricken silk weaver.
The film received Best film and best actor for Prakash Raj at the 55th National Film Award.