A National Award winning film made in a language that not many people have heard of is certainly a break-through for Indian cinema.
‘Byari’, a first of its kind film, is a bold attempt made by debutant director K P Suveeran and debutant producer T F Altaf Hussain.
The prestigious Swarna Kamala that the movie received was awarded to its producer, Altaf.
On asking him how he felt when he received the award, he said, “I did not expect the Swarna Kamala at all.
At most, we expected a regional award.” He says that the film was titled ‘Byari’ to grab the attention of not just the community people, but also appeal to the other citizens of the world.
“I wanted the title to be loud and clear for the whole world to learn about our community,” he further explained.
Byari or Beary, is a minority Muslim community in the coastal areas of Karnataka, mainly Udupi, Mangalore and Hassan districts.
The word ‘Byari’ is derived from an Arabic word ‘Bahar’ that means ocean; the word ‘Byara’ in Tulu also means a trader.
The community has a history of more than 1,350 years and are known for their distinctive cultural identity and traditions.
Their main occupation is trading.
One of the mosques built in Mangalore called Arab Da’ee dates back to 644 AD.
They speak a language that is derived from Tamil, Malayalam and Tulu.
The film revolves around the social and moral dilemmas faced by the protagonist- Nadira, a twelve-yearold girl who is married off to a man thrice her age.
Her husband Rashid, played by Altaf himself, divorces her following a conflict with his father-in-law.
Realising that the matter was trivial, he decides to re-marry her.
But, according to the Holy Quran, a woman must marry another man first and after getting talaq from him, can she marry her first husband.
The later part of the story explores the turmoil faced by Nadira as a woman belonging to a minority community.
The film was snubbed as being haram by extremists and was caught up in a legal battle with writer Sara Aboobkar who claimed credits for the plot of the film.
Actress Mallika who plays the lead received the Jury’s Special Mention for her performance.
Wellknown Malayali comedian Maamukoya plays a ‘serious’ role as Nadira’s father.
The film was screened for a niche audience at the Department of Information recently.
On the occasion, Girish Kasaravalli, whose film Kurmavatara bagged the Best Regional Film award, was present.
Actress Tara who was recently appointed the chairman of Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce made her first public appearance with the event.
She along with Kasaravalli were felicitated on the day.
Amongst other renowned personalities, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, B S h e s h a d r i , a c t r e s s Umashree, cinematographer of Byari Murali Krishna, editor P Manohar, Bangalore president of Tulu Koota Ramesh Hegde, Byari Welfare Association president Farooq, former president Maqsood Ahmed and editor of Sudha magazine, B M Haneef and comedian Maamukoya were also present