Azhagi is a 2002 Tamil-language drama film written and directed by Thangar Bachan. The film stars Parthiban Radhakrishnan, Nandita Das, and Devayani in the lead roles. The film explores the issues of physical appearance, body shaming, and self-esteem. The story revolves around Kathir (Parthiban Radhakrishnan), an uneducated and unkempt barber who falls in love with the beautiful and educated Bhanu (Devayani). He is not very confident in himself and constantly worries about his looks and the way he is perceived by others. Bhanu, on the other hand, is a confident and modern woman who is willing to look beyond physical appearances.
The film begins by showing Kathir's life as a barber, where he is constantly teased and mocked by his customers for his unkempt appearance. His life takes a turn when he meets Bhanu, who is impressed by his kind-hearted nature and falls in love with him. However, Kathir is skeptical of her feelings towards him and fears being rejected due to his looks.
As their love story progresses, Kathir's insecurities and self-doubt increase, which leads to misunderstandings and arguments between the two. Bhanu tries to reassure Kathir and instill confidence in him, but it is not enough. Amidst this, a chance encounter with a visually impaired woman named Azhagi (Nandita Das) changes Kathir's perspective on life.
Through Azhagi, Kathir learns that physical appearances do not define a person and that true beauty lies within. Azhagi, who is beautiful in her own way, shows Kathir that it is possible to be loved and admired for who you are, rather than what you look like. With Azhagi's guidance, Kathir transforms himself into a confident and self-assured person who learns to love himself for who he is.
The film also explores other themes such as societal beauty standards, body shaming, and self-esteem. Bhanu's family, who are well-educated and affluent, look down upon Kathir and ridicule him for his looks and lack of education. This leads to Bhanu questioning her own beliefs and values, and whether she is willing to stand up against the societal norms that dictate beauty standards.
Overall, Azhagi is a beautiful film that explores the complexities of relationships and the damaging effects of societal beauty standards. The film's powerful message about self-love and the beauty within is something that is relevant to everyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. The performances by the lead cast, especially Parthiban Radhakrishnan and Nandita Das, are outstanding and make this film a must-watch.