Tribal voices get a means to your screens

It’s been almost four years since a friend and I made our way to Marayoor, a town in Kerala’s Idukki district, for the first time.

Published: 30th September 2021 06:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2021 02:05 PM   |  A+A-

‘Patterns of Life — Prana’ will be available on Neestream.

‘Patterns of Life — Prana’ will be available on Neestream.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It’s been almost four years since a friend and I made our way to Marayoor, a town in Kerala’s Idukki district, for the first time. We hiked to explore and capture the breathtaking views of the town, for the joy of it. We’ve come a long way since then,” says documentary filmmaker Shino Cherian, recalling the events that led to the making of Patterns of Life – Prana, a documentary film tracing the lives of three tribal communities along the Western Ghats. Three-odd years, several hitches, and support from unexpected corners later, the crowd-funded film will be released on OTT platform Neestream on October 1.

“Though we didn’t visit Idukki with the idea of shooting a documentary film, the places and people we met during our time there seeded the idea to create one. Moreover, we love the BBC Travel documentaries and those that are telecast on NatGeo…we wanted to challenge ourselves into capturing visuals that were on par. Despite being on a shoestring budget, we flagged the shooting. For the last three years, Prana was in the making. It was a long yet satisfying process. Over this period, Vipin Davis (the friend with whom I visited Marayoor for the first time) and I were joined and supported by friends — Anand GK, Praveen Kumar Raja and Aravind Babu — in shooting this documentary,” shares Shino.

The documentary film explores the lives of three tribal communities — the Muthuvans, Ooralis and Mannans, and people from these indigenous groups are its protagonists. Be it the life of honey collector Babu ‘Chettan’; 100-year-old Neeli, the oldest woman of the Oorlai tribe; Sunil, a fisherman; medicine collector Uthaman; step farmworker Indrani; or the age-old practices, language and activities of the communities, every captured imagery offers a new dimension to life and its qualities, shares Shino.

“For over two years, we were working with limited equipment, trekking through the mountains to capture the essence of the lives of people from the community. However, when we didn’t have enough funds to complete the film, we flagged a crowdfunding campaign through Wishberry, a Mumbai-based crowdfunding platform in 2020,” he says. The team raised `5,00,000 within four days. “We channelled the fund to complete the film’s 5.1 mix, mastering and colouring and sent it to international film festivals,” he says.

The film has been edited by Jomy Joseph, Harilal K Rajeev and Vinayan MJ, live sound by Eldhose Issac, and music has been rendered by Sakthi Balaji. “Sync Cinemas, Chennai handled the sound design and Raja Nallaiah handled the 5.1 mixes of the film. The film is jointly produced by AGK Films, Tygo ventures, Runs on Reserve Studios, Wishberry Films & TN74 travellers. The introductory narration for the film has been voiced by actor Nassar,” he details.

With OTT platforms ushering a new age for independent filmmakers and films, Shino enthuses that Prana has found its place in this golden web. “OTT platforms have been offering a new beginning for young independent filmmakers who make quality content. It’s wonderful to have such opportunities now to put our work out there. We are thrilled that the documentary will be available to a global audience through Neestream. Going forward, we want to explore the lives of people who shape other landscapes and how they live in harmony with nature, ” he concludes.  

‘Patterns of Life – Prana’ will stream from October 1. Tickets at `70. Visit Instagram: @patternsoflife.prana


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