Sasu Mariyappan wins acclaim for his thought-provoking short films on television’s Naalaya Iyakunar

This 21-year-old man is a picture of happiness. He has just returned after bagging three awards for his short films. A film on an unusual love story between a man and a transgender won him and his team the third prize from over a thousand entries in the fourth season of Naalaya Iyakunar, a televised contest which recognises the best talents in direction, acting and story writing for short films from all over Tamil Nadu.

Un Vizhiyil En Kanavu, a 12 minute film, tells the story of how a man falls in love with a girl, only to find out later that she is a transgender. But he refuses to fall prey to social stigma and pursues his relationship.

The second short film Mei, talks about how a man unwittingly ends up donating his sperm to his own sister, who was unable to conceive a child for a long time. This is kept a secret from his sister till the end. This story won him the Best Story Writer award. The third film Arisichoru, a period film set during the 1982 famine in a village in Tamil Nadu, tells the story of a girl who attends school to benefit from the Nutritious Meal Scheme introduced by then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran. This won awards for the Best Film and Crew.

“I have always been inspired by the movies of K. Balachander, J. Mahendran and Balu Mahendra which focus on serious issues which society needs to ponder over. This is the reason why I decided to make short films on these topics, which are not discussed openly enough,” says Mariyappan.

A graduate in Visual Communication from the Hindusthan College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, Mariyappan plans to direct a feature film soon.

“Producers have approached me after the success of my short films, and talks are currently underway to produce a feature film,” he said.

Mariyappan was the youngest finalist and winner, and he is confident this will provide him the platform, like many other short film directors to make the successful transition.