If the mad rush in front of the theatre is any indicator, this seems to be one of the most-anticipated films of the 18th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Even an hour before the screening of ‘Kanyaka Talkies’, film buffs started thronging Kalabhavan premises queuing up for entry on Sunday.
The film, which was screened as the opening film of Indian Panorama section at the recently-concluded International Film Festival of India (IFFI), was one of the first films for which delegate reservation was full.
‘Kanyaka Talkies’, the debut feature film of national award-winning documentary filmmaker K R Manoj, is built around a C-class theatre-turned-church. Based on a story by P V Shajikumar, the film dissects an array of themes that are juxtaposed and analysed inside the narrative. “Desire gives rise to guilt, which in turn vindicates the relevance of religion. The film explores the contradictions and interconnections,” says Manoj.
He says though the film traces the theatre’s makeover into a place of worship, it’s not a nostalgic trip. “It touches upon graver areas like desire and guilt that springs from passion. The theatre used to screen soft-porn films and the film zooms into the lives of a handful of people who are affected by it,” says Manoj.
The characters in the film include a guilt-ridden owner who donates the theatre to the diocese, a priest in charge of the church haunted by voices and an acting aspirant who ends up as a home-nurse.
Soundscape in the film is an integral part of its narrative and Manoj says he was keen on having a brilliant technical crew on board.
“‘Kanyaka Talkies’ was filmed with live sound sound and M Harikumar was the recordist. Sound design is by Rajeevan Ayyappan, who has worked for Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. Other noted names involved with the film are cinematographer Shehnad Jalaal and editor Mahesh Narayanan,” he adds.
The film has one more screening at IFFK.