Mathamma, the 20-minute documentary film reports a peculiar practice of the folks of Arundhati community in Mangattucheri village near Arakkonam, Chennai.

It is about the tradition of offering female children to their deity Mathamma for the pettiest of reasons - for the cure of a relative, for money, for a want of a son etcetera. Similar to the practice of offering cattle to the deity, they offer their female children to fulfill their prayers to God. Then the offered female child would become a property of the temple and the village.And she is called only as Mathamma thereafter and not by her own name.

In seven or eighth age of the offered female child, she gets wedded with the deity Mathamma in the name of a ritual called"Thirunaa". As she becomes a God's wife, the girl is forbidden from marrying anyone else. Men exploit them sexually; live with them when they want to, only to dessert them when they don't. The saddest part of it is they do not see themselves as victims and are at peace. The Mathammas feel privileged to be called by thy name and forget their original names.

The documentary tries to find out the root causes for the tradition still being prevalent and relate them to their social conditions.Thus revealing the flaws still existing in our societal system and the immediate urge to pave a new life to this affected women to free them from this kind of superstitions.

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Directed by:
Leena Manimekalai
Cinematography by:
Editing by:
Sound by:
Produced by:
  • 8th Kolkota International Festival, 2002
  • Best Documentary Award in Paris and Norway International Documentary Festivals ( Indian Circle), 2002
  • Silver Trophy in Europe Movies Festival, 2003
  • Silambu (Chennai Film Festival), 2002
  • CDIT International Festival, Trivandrum 2003
  • Invited for Chicago Women in Director's Chair Film Festival, March 2004
  • US Screening Tour - Tamil Sangams across the US, Columbia University, Pitsburg University, Maryland University, Aid India, AIMS India, Apnaagar, Indian Musilm Council Chapters in US
  • Diaspora Screening Tour - Zurich-Switzerland, Paris-France and London-UK organized by MANITHAM, SALANAM and VIMBAM respectively