Friday, July 6, 2012

Byari














Byari is the title of a film for all of you.
But to me, it is more than a film. 
It is the name of a section of people and their language as well. 
They are a section of people whose number may not cross even two 
million. 
This number is quite insignificant in a country where we talk about
hundred millions of people. 
And in the vast expanse of India they are restricted to a few villages.
Making a film in this language is out of question as there was no film
in its history and they are religiously restricted in watching films. 
So when the offer came I was a bit amused and made a trip 
to these villages. 
The astonishment I have seen in their eyes, especially in the eyes of 
the women folk, gave me a feeling that I should take up this challenge. 
And I did it.



Of course, I know that my film has aesthetic value. 
But this film has more political value than aesthetic I believe. 
I hope you know that I am from Kerala. A state that boasts of hundred percent literacy. 
But how many of you are aware that there are half-naked adivasis in Kerala? 
And their struggle for existence? Even Malayalam, my mother tongue, is alien to them. 
This is a question to all creative artists. Who are you taking sides with? 
Whose stories are you interested in?  
How can one be politically correct in this chaotic tussle 
of marketization and hegemonizing powers?



We are living in an era of linguicide. 
Many languages of the world start disappearing. Are we happy when languages disaapear? 
Can we forget the in-fighting in India in the name of languages? 
The Hindi-Tamil fight? The Kannada movement?The Maratti issue? 
If we fought for all these should we not try to defend these minor languages like Byaari? 
Language disappearance is the disappearance of a culture, 
the disappearance of a section of people.



The National Award given to my film provided an opportunity for this people and their language to be discussed at least in India. The media are aware now that such a language is there in India and nearly two million people exist. They now slowly get news value. Their celebrations, customs, deaths, accidents, violence, everything start getting attention. If a film can do all these it has a message to my fellow film makers. Turn your camera to the farthest corners of India, to the margins; there you see life, life hitherto left unrecorded.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

The book of life

Ayussinte Pusthakam' 
(a play in Malayalam) 

What is sin? 
It must have begun from the Bible itself.
But it has varied forms as seen through the eyes of religion, the individual, time and space
Yet in some ways they are all one,
and all of them view spontaneous male-female relationships are are aberrations.
the snake and Satan never desert us..
As we recognize the evils of caste ism, sati ... How many things are yet to be recognized and and fought against?
'Ayussinte pusthakam' is about the the suppressed sexuality of the people of Kerala. People who live below the poverty line of sexuality,
and the misery it creates when that venom is spit out.
it is a dialectical analysis from and of a land known for political assassinations and sexual abuse.