For Mrs Meenakshi Nambiar, a teacher since pre-Independence days, teaching is not a profession or passion, but also a way of life.
Intrigued by this simple philosophy, Prateek Prajosh, a city-based independent filmmaker, decided to document her life in his latest movie, Mrs Nambiar – More Than ‘Just’ a Teacher, which was released in the last week of August. The 25-minute movie is getting streamed on Cinemapreneur, an OTT platform for independent films.
Prajosh, who hails from Bengaluru and currently lives in Mumbai, says the character of Mrs Nambiar is interesting to him because she was ahead of her times.
“She has always been a path breaker. She was born in 1925, a time when education for girls was not a priority or rather irrelevant. But she not just understood the importance of education but also decided to make people realise its importance too,” says Prajosh, adding that she has had thousands of students in the last 70 years, and still continues to teach more students.
The story also holds a special place for him since he is distantly related to the 95-year-old National Teachers’ Award winning teacher, who lives in Kozhikode.
“Since I could find a personal connection with her, I had an advantage as a filmmaker to bring out the emotional side of it,” says Prajosh. For instance, he says, whenever she takes a rickshaw or cab ride, the driver most likely turns out to be one of her students who refuses to take fare from her. But she has never taken advantage of that.
“I would have hardly got a chance to know these stories if I had not known her,” says Prajosh, adding that the whole movie was “luckily” shot before the lockdown and the editing was done by his editor in Bengaluru.
Prajosh, who started his career in independent filmmaking in 2015 with his first movie, Only Sometimes a God, based on the traditional ritual art form of Theyyam, is happy with the response that his latest movie is getting.
Talking about the struggles faced by independent filmmakers, Prajosh says more than financial support, they miss a platform that is dedicated to them.
“The main reason behind OTT platforms was to boost these kind of movies, which are not star-led, and have unconventional content, so that the good content does not get lost. But now most non-mainstream movies that you see are led by stars,” he adds. Cinemapreneur, which is relatively new on the block, offers packages starting from D49 per movie.