Dec. 05--Swapaanam is the first time a Malayalam movie is going to have its first screening outside India.
Malayalam film Swapaanam, directed by award-winning filmmaker Shaji N. Karun and featuring versatile actor Jayaram in the lead role, will have its global premiere at Mall of the Emirates during the Dubai International Film Festival at 8pm on December 8.
This is the first time a Malayalam movie is going to have its first screening outside India.
Jayaram, a popular celluloid hero and an accomplished actor, is donning the role of "chenda" artiste (drummer) that he occasionally takes up in real life too.
The film also has actors Siddique, Sajitha Madhathil, Vineeth and Bengali actress Kadambari, who plays the lead female character, Nalini, a Mohiniyattam danseuse. Director Shaji is best known for his award-winning films Piravi (1989), Vanaprastham (1999) and Kutty Srank (2010).
While Vaanaprastham celebrated Kerala's art form of Kathakali and earned international acclaim, Swapaanam (English title "The voiding soul") depicts the life of a Chenda artiste whose genius was never acknowledged when he was alive.
In Swapaanam, an unusual experiment is also featured -- a Mohiniyattam dancer matching her steps to the beats of a chenda, instead of the traditional edakka.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Shaji said chenda as a percussion instrument has some unique characteristics. "It is the only drum that can be orchestrated as symphony of music with over 150 such instruments. Chenda Melam and Thayambaka are concerts on drumbeats and a unique interpretation of loudness. There is no such classical realisation to compare."
Shaji believes that all Malayalees have certain destinies. "They live with pride and discover themselves through honesty, hard work and their traditional art forms. Malayalam by itself is a derivation of many layers of modernism and traditions with deeper understandings of human mind. This film is dedicated to those people who live for Kerala. Dubai has such a wonderful ambience. I am showing this film to people with memories of their native land and cinema is the discovery of memories."
Swapaanam depicts the tragic life of Unni, a temple percussionist. Unni's passion for the chenda takes him through forbidden territories, challenging traditional values.
"An artiste, like a candle, lights up the lives of people around, but burns out in the process. The lives of geniuses such as Mozart could be cited as examples. As they dabble with their own illusions, others may be eager to brand them as eccentric. In Swapaanam, Unni's intrinsic talent is not known to the world until much later," says Shaji.
"Even for a master drummer, the rhythm of life is at the same moment disrupted and harmonised by the love, passion, jealousy, hate and spite of those around," says the creator of some the widely acclaimed films.
Unni and Nalini are drawn to each other by an affection that transcends the devotion to their respective art forms. The pulse of their passion cannot hold up against the tumults of Unni's life. A brother and a father figure, whose love sours to jealousy and hate, a wife who despises his drumming and a mother from whom the truth about his birth is not forthcoming all hasten the tempo of a mental imbalance rooted in Unni's childhood to an inevitable dark end.
Swapaanam was produced under the banner of Horizon Entertainment. The script has been written by Harikrishnan and Sajeev Pazhoor, based on Shaji's own story. Cinematographer is Saji Nair and the music has been composed by Sreevalsan J. Menon. Background score is done by Isaac Thomas Kottukappali, Mohiniyattam is choreographed by Padmashree Kalamandalam Kshemavathy. Lyrics are by Manoj Kuroor. Chenda maestros P. D. Namboodiri, Udayan Namboodiri, Eswaran Unni and a host of talented and well-known chenda players also appear in the film.
(c)2013 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
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