The story is set in a rural area around Madurai. The village is called Parithiyur where Paruthiveeran lives with his doting uncle -- father's brother, (Saravanan). The name paruthiveeran literally means "the hero of paruthi", derived from the fact that the village where he lives (and the movie is set) is called Paruthi or Paruthiyur. Parithi means sun in Tamil. The village in reality is quite famous for the sun temple in south India.
He probably is referred to as the hero of Paruthi village as he heroically saves the life of the young Muthazhagu. He shapes up as a brutal bully and leads a care-free life. Muthazhagu (Priyamani) loves him more than her life, but he remains unmoved and keeps her at bay. At times he is violent too. When he understands her true love for him and decides to marry her, the feud between the two families comes in the way. Determined as he is to possess her, he warns her against marrying anyone else on the insistence of her father or mother. He even threatens to cut her into pieces. Undeterred by his threats, her parents press ahead with the preparations for her marriage with a man of their choice. But she resists and musters courage to elope with Paruthiveeran. What follows forms a climax which shocks everyone alike. While Muthazhagu succumbs to fate's deadly game, Paruthiveeran has no choice but to let everyone believe (falsely and fatefully) that he is a madman.