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In search of a lost world

BIJU GOVIND

TELEFILM Jagesh's debut film features the socio-economic changes in traditional Muslim households in Malappuram.


Jagesh wonderfully weaves a series of images to tell the story of the mystic and the fishes.



A child's angst: The trials and tribulations of a child caught in a changing world.

`Paadhushayude Meenukal' (The Mystic's Fishes) is an 18-minute telefilm that explores the relationship of a 10-year old child, Manaf (Arun), and his Valluppa, grandfather (Mohammed Perambra).

Based on an award winning short story by Riyas, the film was screened at the Digital Film Festival in Madrid last year. It gives an insight into the rapidly changing society, particularly the traditional Muslim households in Malappuram district. Little Manaf finds himself isolatedafter the death of his Valluppa. The fairy-tales his Valluppa had narrated to him are his only comfort. His obsession with his grandpa's belongings and his junk box are the leit motif of this short filmshot in the house of Kolandi Govindan Kutty at Valayankulam, near Ponnani.

Debut film

Jagesh, the debutant director who is a graduate of the Chetana Media Institute in Thrissur, wonderfully weaves a series of images to tell the story of the mystic and the fishes. Manaf sees in his Valluppa the mystic who came to build a mosque in their village. The mystic cleaned the near-by pond and put all the fish in its waters. He then moved to the mosque after its completion. The legend goes that after the mystic died all the fishes took part in the funeral prayers. Valluppa's story fascinates Manaf.Manaf also sees in his Thatta (Bindu B. Nair) a character in the fairy tale of Badrul Muneer and Husnul Jamal. This is another story Valluppa had narrated to him. Images associated with Manaf's junk box, Valluppa's mirror and Ossan's (Saloo Kottanadu) shaving stone (alam) evoke nostalgia in the viewer.

The village scenes and the background music make the film worth watching.

The cinematography is by S. Sadat and the theme music by Rajagopal.

The film concludes with the child dreaming about his Valluppa walking with him along the village paths.

Jagesh says his next project is a documentary on North Kerala, focussing on the cultural upheavals after the Mappilla rebellion of 1921.

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