August 16 1947 review: Gautham Karthik’s period drama works in parts

Gautham Karthik And Revathy Sharma's performances, and Sean Roldan's music keep you engrossed for the most part, but the convoluted plot plays spoilsport.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Aug 18, 2023

Gautham Karthik's August 16 1947
Engaging in parts!

August 16 1947 (Tamil)

  • Cast: Gautham Karthik, Pugazh, Revathy Sharma, Richard Ashton, and Jason Shah
  • Director: NS Ponkumar
  • Producers: AR Murugadoss, Om Prakash Bhatt, and Narsiram Choudhary
  • Music: Sean Roldan
  • Runtime: 2 hours 24 minutes

Director NS Ponkumar’s August 16 1947 is a period drama that, despite its convoluted plot, works in parts.

What wins your admiration is some fine acting by Gautham Karthik, who plays the lead character (Paraman), and some exceptionally mellifluous tunes from music director Sean Roldan.


The story of August 16 1947 takes place in Sengadu, a village located deep in the jungles in South Tamil Nadu and far away from civilisation.

It begins on 12 August 1947 and ends on 16 August 1947, a day after India wins her independence.

poster of August 16 1947

A poster of ‘August 16 1947’. (Gautham_Karthik/Twitter)

The British, who are making preparations to leave India after having ruled (read: plundered) her for two centuries, don’t have the heart to let go of some of the resources found only in the country. One such resource is the world-famous cotton yarn of Sengadu.

The British depute one of their most notorious generals, General Robert (Richard Ashton), as the in-charge of the region.

Robert lives life like a dictator in Sengadu, whipping and killing the peasants of the village at will. His son Justin (Jason Shah), a pervert, keeps raping women or is busy hunting animals in the neighbouring jungles.

Father and son strike fear in the hearts of the villagers and use it to enslave them.

Robert, in particular, punishes the residents in the most inhuman of ways and makes an example of those who even slightly disobey him. Overcome by fear, the villagers slog for 18 hours a day to provide cotton yarn to the greedy British.

Aiding the British General in his atrocities is the local zamindar who, however, is careful to protect his daughter from the prying eyes of Robert’s son Justin.

To safeguard his daughter Deepali (Revathy Sharma), he declares her dead in the village when she was a child and secretly continues to bring her up inside his locked home.

Paraman, an orphan, who was touched by an act of kindness from Deepali when he was a boy, works for the zamindar.

It is under these circumstances that the British agree to give India her freedom in 1947.

When there are just a couple of days left for India to become free, Justin’s eyes fall on Deepali, who has now grown into a beautiful maiden. He demands that she be sent to him.

The zamindar, in a bid to protect his family’s honour, thinks it is better to kill his daughter than send her to Justin. He and his sons attempt to kill her but she is saved by Paraman.

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Paraman tries to hide Deepali from everyone. However, a series of developments result in Justin finding Deepali. When Justin tries to misbehave with her, Paraman comes to her rescue again. He ends up killing Justin, inviting the wrath of Robert.

With just hours to go for India to become independent, Robert begins to hunt for Paraman and Deepali. Sadly though, nobody in Sengadu knows that India is to become free on 15 August as the village is cut off from the nearest town.

Loses steam after a point

August 16 1947 starts on an interesting note, showcasing the business interests of the British and the brutal methods they employ to maximise their profits.

It steadily keeps picking up the pace till the time Paraman kills Justin. However, it loses steam after that with far too many unnecessary developments being showcased in the story.

This reduces the intensity of the plot by a considerable margin. It also turns the film into a tedious affair, making one wish it would come to an end.

august 16 1947 film

A poster of ‘August 16 1947’. (Gautham_Karthik/Twitter)

The performances

Gautham Karthik delivers yet another commendable performance as the brisk, sharp, courageous Paraman.

Newcomer Revathy Sharma comes up with a decent performance as the kind and considerate Deepali.

While their performances are good, their sequences together don’t impress much as the chemistry between them is missing.

Mellifluous music

The biggest strength of the film is Sean Roldan’s mellifluous music which charms you from start to finish.

It is not just the background score that impresses even the songs have high retention value and command your attention. In short, Sean Roldan’s music for the film is simply outstanding.

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August 16 1947 has quite a few significant and valid points to make.

Had it delivered just one idea instead of trying to put across so many points, the film would have been so much better.

(Views expressed are personal.)