Malayalam filmmakers are making a beeline for Kasaragod to discover its range and panoramic surroundings

Malayalam filmmakers are making a beeline for Kasaragod to discover its range and panoramic surroundings

Malayalam cinema is abuzz with all issues Kasaragod. Kerala’s northernmost district — its spectacular landscapes, folks, dialect and tradition — have lastly discovered their footing in mainstream cinema.

“Once upon a time in Malayalam cinema, it was all about Valluvanad [pastoral areas of north central Kerala]. Now it’s Kasaragod and the frontier in the limelight!” says scenarist Sajeev Pazhoor, co-writer of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017).

Still from Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, which was set in Kasaragod

Still from Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, which was set in Kasaragod
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

This crime drama that unfolds in a dusty, dry border village, roughly kicked off the pattern. Since then Kasaragod landscapes have been popping up in movies, comparable to Mayaanadhi (Bekal Fort) and Unda ( Acacia forests of Mulleria), tv collection The Family Man (Bekal city), and glimpses of its significantly accented Malayalam are to be seen in Padayottam, to call a couple of.

Tovino Thomas and Aishwariya Lekshmi in Mayaanadhi

Tovino Thomas and Aishwariya Lekshmi in Mayaanadhi
| Photo Credit: Special association

Home floor

Then got here Senna Hegde’s quirky Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam (2021). The movie, made in the director’s hometown of Kanhangad and starring native artistes talking in the native dialect, renewed curiosity in the area. And now, with Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s runaway hit, Nna Thaan Case Kodu, starring Kunchacko Boban and one more splendid forged of native expertise, Kasaragod appears to have cemented its dominance on display screen.

A still from the short film Anurag Engineering Works 

A nonetheless from the quick movie Anurag Engineering Works 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It doesn’t finish there. The quick movie Anurag Engineering Works, which, like Nna Thaan Case Kodu, can be set amid the semi-arid scrublands of Cheemeni, a small city in the interiors of the district, is at the moment trending on YouTube, with 40-lakh-plus views.

Several Malayalam movies set in Kasaragod are in the works, together with Adrishya Jalakangal, directed by Dr Biju, with Tovino and Nimisha Sajayan in the lead, Tovino’s Ajayante Randam Moshanam, Kumari, starring Aiswarya Lekshmi and directed by Nirmal Sahadev, Senna’s 1744 White Alto, with Sharafudheen in the lead, and so forth. Even the newly remastered model of G Aravindan’s seminal Kummatty exhibits Kasaragod in all its glory! “The total district, it appears, has been taken over by movie crews! One can barely stroll the roads earlier than bumping into them!” says a delighted Senna.

Still from Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam directed by Senna Hegde

Still from Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam directed by Senna Hegde
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

On a extra severe notice he provides, “For lengthy, no person was in us, politically or cinematically. In in style tradition, Kasaragod was at all times the butt of jokes; the place the place they ship you if you get a punishment switch! So, we needed to change that notion all by ourselves. Kasaragod is a ravishing place, with a pleasant, cinema-loving populace. It has a hilly terrain to the north of the Chandragiri river, the place the tradition is a mixture of Malayali, Kannada and Tulu. To the south of the river, the plains are very Kerala in nature.”

Senna’s artwork director Ullas Hydoor agrees. “The geography of the district is not like every other. For instance, these dry grasslands in the interiors of the district set in opposition to the signature laterite rocky terrain, shimmering gold and purple in the daylight, is magical. You actually don’t have a lot to do when nature palms you such stunning frames. Also, the manner many elements of the district nonetheless have that outdated world allure; it’s tranquil there,” says Ullas.

Film director Senna Hegde

Film director Senna Hegde
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Indeed, Kasaragod’s stunning panorama was first immortalised on display screen in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (1995), particularly in the soulful ‘Uyire, Uyire’ picturised at the spectacular Bekal Fort, a centuries-old, laterite stone edifice overlooking the Arabian Sea. “Kasaragod is probably Kerala’s final unspoilt frontier,” says Sandeep Senan, producer of Thondimuthalum… Its author Sajeev says that they have been in want of a parched panorama for the story and located the excellent spot in Sheni, an arid village, some 10 kilometres from the border with Karnataka.

While scouting the location for Adrishya Jalakangal, Biju says he looked for a spot removed from the fashionable trappings of life and located it in Posadi Gumpe. “It’s completely inexperienced and delightful; a pristine hill station perpetually lined in mist,” says Biju.

His earlier movie Valiyachirakulla Pakshikal (2013) was one in every of the first to be set in the district. It was shot in Mulleria and you may observe all three of Kasaragod’s seasons (spring, summer season and wet) in the movie. Others movies like Chattambinadu and Kasaba have been additionally set there and particularly, noteworthy is the award-winning Kannada movie Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale, Kasaragodu, which offers with the challenge of language in the northern elements of the district, the place Malayalam, Kannada and Tulu are spoken by many.

A shot from Senna Hegde’s upcoming film 1744 White Alto

A shot from Senna Hegde’s upcoming movie 1744 White Alto
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Given that Kasaragod is near Kannur, Kozhikode and Mangalore airports, accessibility is one other main issue cited by filmmakers, as are the prices, which, they declare, are for now comparatively cheaper than elsewhere in Kerala.

Authentic contact

It additionally helps that a number of of the new crop of filmmakers, writers and technicians are from the place and thus conversant in the milieu and the Malabar area, in normal. “When you might have folks in the know then it’s simple to get that authenticity,” says Kiran Josey, director and co-writer of Anurag Engineering Works. “In our case, co-writer Adarsh Sadanandan is from close by Payyanur and the movie was primarily based on sure folks he knew and their lifestyle,” he provides.

Many of the filmmakers additionally select native actors for supporting roles. “There is a wealth of expertise right here; we have now an extended historical past of individuals’s participation in the arts, particularly theatre and drama. Given the common nature of the topic, I may have set Thinkalazhcha… anyplace however I selected to do it in Kanhangad. The similar with 1744 White Alto. I’m happy with my roots. We have been ready to be found,” avers Senna. So too, it appears, was Kasaragod.

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