Vellichathin Marupakkam was an interview-based television program that used to air on Doordarshan network and DD Podhighai every Sunday. The show was one of the highest rated shows on the channel and enjoyed a successful run of 3 years. The show was hosted by the famous Tamil media figure V K Thanabalan and directed by S. Anandhanarayanan. The show had an interview-based format wherein Thanabalan used to talk to various people. The people interviewed came from different walks of life and had something special and inspiring about them. Thanabalan was chosen as the host for the same reason – he had struggled hard to achieve success which resonated perfectly with the concept of the show.
The show was noted for its lack of stars and glamour and its reliance on simple people and their honest stories. The show was praised highly for the way it highlighted the story of the common man in a simple manner. Thanabalan interviewed people across the spectrum of life throughout the run of the show. These people often belonged to lower classes or ones who would’ve been ridiculed or ignored in the society. The show allowed them to tell their story to make others aware of their hardships. The first episode had an ex-convict who had served his jail term and back into the society. The convict had murdered nine people.
Then there was the story of women affected by AIDS. She decided not to remain anonymous to tell her story. The interview proved successful which propelled her to start working for the betterment of AIDS affected people and be invited to multiple countries to share her stories. There was also the peculiar case of a doctor in Chennai – Gladys Jacob. He performed post mortem autopsies at the General Hospital. Jacob was a huge movie buff and a fan of Silk Smitha.
He went through a shock when he was asked to perform an autopsy on a corpse which turned out belonged to his favourite movie star – Silk Smitha. The show also had interviews with ragpickers, eunuchs, meal centre workers, etc. who often don’t get a chance to tell their stories. Vellichathin Marupakkam was a groundbreaking show that allowed a peek into the life of ordinary citizens throughout Tamilnadu. With its host and the guests both having emotional and inspiring stories to tell, the show is a must watch to understand the society around us in a better way.
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