Relocating to Kerala, Ananda Jyothi and his Brazilian wife Carina Bini will continue to pursue their work that will link Indian and Brazilian culture

Bringing two culturally vibrant nations together infuses a rare creative energy; say Ananda Jyothi and Carina Bini. For the last few years, the couple has been working as a cultural link between Brazil and India, opening a window for each into the other.

“Brazil is not just about football and Samba; it has a lot more to it. The television industry to start with: Brazil has one of the largest TV industries in the world, which churns out soaps that are popular all over the world. Unfortunately, there is very little information about the cultural and aesthetic landscape of the country,” says Jyothi, a Malayali, who has lived in Brazil for over 15 years with his Brazilian wife Carina Bini. Just as Jyothi was enamoured of the cultural richness of Brazil, Carina was overwhelmed by India’s ancient heritage. The two met in India in 1996, at the Himalayas where Jyothi was living temporarily and Carina was on a reporting assignment. The two instantly felt connected by a shared love for heritage, art and culture.

Indo-Brazil bond

After marriage, they settled in Brazil and started making efforts to familiarise Brazilians with India. While Jyothi is a musician, writer and filmmaker, Carina is a journalist and screen writer (in Portuguese). Among the many productions by their company, Tantri Art, was a popular television series for children on India. Carina has also authored an Indian fairytale, The Kings Daughters, for children in Portuguese.

One of their documentaries, based on a book Brazil-A View from Inside, by economist Vinod Thomas, was one among the 10 short-listed by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, for a screening at the golden jubilee celebrations of Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. It generated a lot of interest as Thomas, director general of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank, compares Brazil to India, stressing the importance of a balanced growth trajectory. The documentary that features educationists, policy makers, environmentalists and local residents of both countries, was screened at several film festivals in Brazil. Carina and Jyothi hope to send it to the Indian film festival circuit too.

The Indian Film Festival they organised in Brazil in 2012 was probably the first of its kind in South America, Jyothi says. The month-long festival, held at the five major cities of Brazil, was a “resounding success”. It screened 35 films from various Indian languages. However, most of the picks were from parallel cinema. The festival was conducted with support from the Brazilian government and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India. They plan to conduct another festival in 2014. A Brazilian film festival in India is also on the cards. In 2011, they had also organised an Indian music festival.

Back to Kerala

Jyothi and Carina have now relocated to Ooramana in Kolenchery, near Kochi. Their children, Sivaram and Lalitha, have enrolled in a school in Kolenchery and are adapting to their new surroundings well. Of Italian-Spanish descent, Carina was born and brought up in Brazil. However, she feels equally at home in Kerala. “I cook proper Malayali food - puttu, dosa, idli, sambar, pulissery… you name it,” she says.

While the two are in Kerala, they will be working on their individual projects. Jyothi will be involved in research on Koodiyattom, as he plans to make a movie on Koodiyattom exponent Kapila Venu and her adaptation of the Soundaryalahari. He also plans to make a documentary on the newspaper boys in Kerala. Carina, on the other hand, has applied for a scholarship to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations for her project on the Indian way of story-telling. She would also be fine-tuning her script for a movie, a Brazilian-Italian co-production, which tells the story of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. The shooting will be in Brazil in 2014.