CHENNAI, INDIA – The beat of the parai drum fills the humid air in a small South Indian village. The sun is setting, and a crowd of curious people gathers to watch a lively play.
One of the actors named Upendra cowers as another performer approaches him with a raised stick, poised to strike. Upendra is playing the role of a man trapped in a brick factory as a forced labor slave. The audience is captivated by the compelling performance, and many breathe audible sighs of relief when, finally, the family is set free.