Two ever-intriguing premises and tales that easily strike a chord. Kaliyachan and 101 Chodyangal, feature film debuts of Sidharth Siva and Farook Abdul Rahiman, will be vying for the coveted golden crow pheasant at the 18th edition of International Film Festival of Kerala.
Of Art and Turbulence
A maverick poet who preferred to let his art do the talking. Inspired by the whirlwind life and poignant literature of Mahakavi P Kunjiraman Nair is Kaliyachan, a film set against the backdrop of Kerala’s most celebrated dance drama - kathakali. Just like the poems of P, the film also resonates with the throbbing angst of an artist caught between many worlds. “The narrative evolves through the relationship between a kathakali master and his student. It goes through so many phases, each making an impact on the young student’s life,” says Farook Abdul Rahiman. Devu, the heroine of the film, is a female version of P, someone who doesn’t follow in the normal norms of morality. “She is bold and unpretentious, a surprising break from the women around her,” he adds.
Kunjiraman, the kathakali artist in the film, is a character puzzled by the dichotomy of life. He doesn’t refer to a rule book when it comes to celebrating life and is branded as an anarchist by the society. “But he is a man who believes in what he does. It’s only when confronted with a volley of questions that he starts thinking otherwise,” he adds. The film starring Manoj K Jayan, Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri and Tirtha Murbadkar is produced by National Film Development Corporation.
Vignettes of Childhood
It’s more of an innocence versus awareness puzzle, a world where little gestures assume a great meaning. Sidharth Siva’s 101 Chodyangal, a film marked by an unerring clarity, tries to explore childhood on its own terms. “Though the film is woven around a teacher and student, it also touches upon a spate of socially-relevant themes,” says the filmmaker.
Memorably and brilliantly simple, the film zooms into the life of Anil Kumar, an 11-year-old rural boy and his master. Anil’s father, a sugar mill employee,loses his job following certain trade union issues. His mother Sati strives to keep the pot boiling for her family that also involves a disabled daughter.
Anil is given a task by his new teacher at school - finding 101 questions to make a booklet to be sold in buses and trains. He is offered a small sum for each questions and very soon the assignment turns into a serious fixation. After exhausting all the doubts pertinent to a child, he sets off looking for more. The boy’s unrelenting search drains him off all his exuberance, but he completes the mission. After finishing the string of 100 questions, he stumbles upon the last one. “From simple every-day doubts, he reaches riddles that question the very logic of existence. The last question leaves both the master and student baffled,” says Sidharth. The film starring Indrajith and Master Minon is produced by Thomas Kottakkakam.