New Tamil Movie Takes Swipe At Palm Oil
By M. Saraswathi
NEW DELHI : ‘Saguni’, a newly-released Tamil movie whose title depicts a person who tactically plans moves to his or her advantage, has also taken a swipe at palm oil, which has the highest share of consumption in India’s edible oil market.
The politically satirical movie is directed by Shankar Dhayal and stars lead actor Karthi Sivakumar and popular comedian Santhanam.
One of the scenes in the movie shows Karthi intending to buy ‘bajji’, a type of banana fritters, but Santhanam tries to dissuade him, saying, “Do you want to buy that? That is fried in palm oil.”
Santhanam’s facial expression also reflects a disdain for palm oil, sometimes regarded as a “common man’s oil” because the government uses palm oil for its subsidised mid-day meals scheme and allocation of subsidised edible oil to households below the poverty line.
Palm oil is the highest selling oil in India, accounting for 42 per cent of national consumption, especially in the “out-of-home” market segment. The plus-points of palm oil are its price in relation to other edible oils, re-usability and high smoke point at 235 degrees Celsius, the temperature level at which it breaks down to bluish smoke.
India consumes about 16 million tonnes of edible oil annually and 54 per cent of this is imported. Palm oil is also the preferred oil in South India, accounting for about 70 per cent of consumption in states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and in coastal East India in states like West Bengal and Orissa.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the only two main suppliers of palm oil and they dominate 89 per cent of edible oil exports globally. Tamil movies are watched not only in Tamil Nadu, but in the other southern states, as well.
‘Saguni’, also dubbed in Malayalam and Telugu, was released globally on June 22.
A number of Malaysian Tamil movie viewers who saw the scene on palm oil in the movie, expressed shock over the negative portrayal of one of Malaysia’s top exports.