Actor-director Mohan Sharma on his award-winning bilingual film “Namma Gramam,” which is all set for a Pongal release

The awards have come and now it's time to take his film to the people. Actor-director Mohan Sharma's bilingual film Namma Gramam (Gramam in Malayalam) won two National and two State (Kerala Government) awards and is all set for a theatrical release.

“Hopefully for Pongal,” the filmmaker, who has put in 30 years of his savings into his passion project, says. “I have planned it as a trilogy on the Palakkad Brahmin community. It's been my dream project. In fact, the script for the second part is ready.”

The first of the trilogy, Namma Gramam, tells the story of the community between 1938 and 1947. “I think it is an important film from the historical perspective. They had a patriarchal set-up when the rest of the region was a matriarchal society. It was all part of the Madras Presidency when Tamil was a dominant language.”

Reflecting society

Mohan Sharma was one of the first actors to have passed out of the Film and TV Institute of India, Pune. “I have been planning this film since then. I am a cinema person, a product of film and TV. So I was more interested in the drama. I have only tried to hold a mirror to the society of those days.”

He explains why he didn't want to take the documentary route. “When I started off, I wanted to make a film which would tell the story of the Palakkad Brahmins with a human element woven into it. Being a patriarchal community, women were in the background, they used to get married young... as early as ten. Gramam is the story of a child widow and how she fought societal conventions.”

“The second film will be set between 1947 and 1962 when the community started migrating to the cities because of the agrarian revolution. The third film, I have planned, will be between 1962 and 1975 when the community came under fire from Bal Thackeray who classified anyone from the South as ‘Madrasi' and the Palakkad Brahmins bore the brunt of his attack when they migrated to Bombay.”

The films will chronicle the rise and the fall of the Palakkad Brahmin community, Mohan Sharma adds.Gramam won National awards for Sukumari (Best Actress) and Best Costume while the Kerala Government gave it awards for Best Story (Mohan Sharma) and Best Playback singer (Balamurali Krishna). The ensemble comprises Nishaan, Samvrutha, Nedumudi Venu, Sukumari, Mohan Sharma, Y. G. Mahendraa, Nalini and Fathima Babu and has been shot by Madhu Ambat.


Sudhish KamathMay 11, 2012