Remembering Warrier

Priyamanasam, a period film chronicling the personal and creative life of Unnayi Warrier, will be the third Sanskrit film in the history of Indian cinema.

Published: 25th June 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2015 08:58 AM   |  A+A-

Remembering Warrier

His name is familiar with the connoisseurs of kathakali and literature alike. Yet hardly anything is known about the life of Unnayi Warrier, the very reason Vinod Mankara decided to make a biopic on the 17th century playwright. Priyamanasam, a period film chronicling the personal and creative life of Warrier, will also be the third Sanskrit film in the history of Indian cinema.

“Sanskrit is generally thought as a dead language and the film is an attempt to revive it. Aramic is a language spoken by around 25 families in Syria, but Passion of Christ was made in that. So, there is no point avoiding less-used languages,” says the director.   

Priyamanasam follows the playwright as he comes to Travancore from his native Irinjalakuda. “It mainly chronicles the one year during which he completed Nalacharitham. It’s the first romantic attakatha in Malayalam, moreover it deals with humans not gods,” he says.

While Rajesh Hebbar steps into the role of Warrier, Kannada actress and Kuchipudi dancer Pratheeksha Kashi plays the female lead. Renowned Bharatanatyam artist Meera Sreenarayanan appears in another key role. “We searched for a face similar to the available portraits of Warrier. Rajesh had the closest resemblance and the actor is now busy learning kathakali,”  he says.  

Vinod Mankara says he zeroed in on the subject after research spanning over five years. “There is very little historical documents on Warrier. Apart from the original of Nalacharitham written on palm leaves, there is hardly anything that throws light on his biography. In his case hearsay has become history,” he adds.

He says since it’s a story set in 17th century, utmost care has been taken to retain its period character. “Since it’s the recreation of a historical era art work and costumes are designed with all the specifications. Artisans from Thanjavur have created the ornaments for the film,” he says. Music of the film is being composed by Sreevalsan J Menon. 

Priyamanasam is produced by Baby Mathew Somatheeram under the banner of Soma Creations. The film will be shot in the kathakali village of Vellinezhi and Olappamanna Mana. — Express Features


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