Kerala State Film Awards: Kana’s Kenjira mirrors the bruised tribal lives

Adjudged the state’s second best film this year, Kenjira mirrors the lives of the bruised tribal community of Wayanad.

Published: 14th October 2020 04:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2020 04:23 AM   |  A+A-

Manoj Kana at the shoot of his movie Kenjira

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: Adjudged the state’s second best film this year, Kenjira mirrors the lives of the bruised tribal community of Wayanad. The film also won the top awards for cinematographer Prathap Nair and costume designer Ashokan Alappuzha. Director Manoj Kana’s third feature, Kenjira neither preaches nor offers solutions. But it delineates disturbingly the lives of the most sidelined community, depicting how the state and the mainstream society exploits them in new forms. “The tribes have been physically and culturally evicted from their own land and forest,” says Kana, who lived 23 years at Muthanga among the tribal people.

The real-life story of a 14-year-old Paniya girl impregnated by a landlord in Kodagu, where she had gone for work, triggered the making of Kenjira. When the protagonist returns to her colony with the newborn, neither her lover, Kannan, nor the colony ostracize her. “Father is not the one who impregnates a woman but who rears the child,” is Kannan’s philosophy.

“I found the tribal people’s vision and philosophy towards life rather superior to that of the mainstream society,” says Kana. Barring a few, all actors in Kenjira were the tribal people of Wayanad, with Vinusha playing the title character. The film was selected to the Indian Panorama and to the IFFI in Goa, International Film Festival of Kerala and the Kolkata International Film Festival.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp