The Irulas – literally ‘the people of darkness’ are the descendants of the ancient hunter- gatherers who have dwelled in the forests of the state of Tamil Nadu, situated in the Indian subcontinent, for the millennia.
As in most parts of the country, the urban sprawl has made inroads into their villages, smothering the older and simpler ways of life. The relative isolation of the tribe and their unity has helped the Irulas preserve their identity in the face of numerous attempts to absorb them into the homogeneous mainstream. Their zeal and ardour has also helped their traditional ways find a place in the modern scheme of things.
The film focuses on the challenges posed by the modern civilization on the life of the tribe and captures their journey to adapt to these changes and find a place in the contemporary society. The film sees the tribe in transition and not as fossilized museum pieces and explores the extent to which the contact with the civilised world has changed their lives.
Even as it traces their path in the winds of change, the film captures the rare ancient wisdom of the tribe that has enabled them to carve for themselves a niche in the society today.
The film also highlights the exemplary adaptability of the Irulas, which has helped them survive the harsh circumstances. Surviving on one meal a day, eating rodents, monitor lizards and termites, adapting their snake catching skills to catching rodents. This skill I today being utilized to protect the food grains from rodent menace and is therefore enabling them to earn a livelihood.
The life of this tribe is a story of the triumph of spirit over circumstance.