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Portrait of Kutty Srank

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Kaleidoscopic character: Mammootty, who plays the multifaceted ‘Kutty Srank,’ with Kamalini Mukherjee on the sets of the film.
Kaleidoscopic character: Mammootty, who plays the multifaceted ‘Kutty Srank,’ with Kamalini Mukherjee on the sets of the film.

VIJAY GEORGE

Shaji N. Karun’s latest film ‘Kutty Srank’ is a mosaic of reminiscences that depict the portrait of a man as seen through the eyes of three women.

“In this film, we are painting a picture of ‘Kutty Srank’ as seen through the eyes of three women who knew him during various phases of his life. Their reminiscences give us a picture of his personality and character,” says ace director Shaji N. Karun. ‘Kutty Srank,’ Shaji’s latest film, which features Mammootty in the lead role, is being shot in and around Kochi.

Picturesque location

The location for the day is a picturesque island near Poothotta. The otherwise lonely area is abuzz with activity. A group of men are practising Chavittunatakam inside a small hut while others are getting ready for the day’s shoot. The crew is canning a few shots that show some men and women coming out of a big passenger boat, amidst a gentle drizzle.

“We have not mentioned a particular period when the story is happening as it is being narrated in the form of magical realism, a space where fact and fiction merge to create its own world. It was around the time that Ambedkar chose to turn to Buddhism in the 1950s,” says the cinematographer-turned-director, who has carved a niche for himself with films such as ‘Piravi,’ ‘Swaham’ and ‘Vanaprastham’ and ‘AKG.’

Shaji describes the background of the shot that is being canned: “Not many people have any real clues about Srank, his origins or his religion. He speaks in a peculiar Kochi slang and the story develops in Malabar, Kochi and Travancore. The three women have been presented in the backdrop of three different seasons. The sequence that we are shooting now shows one phase in the life of the Srank (boat driver). During a rainy season, the Srank happened to be in a Chavittunatakam troupe.”

P.F.Mathews, who has written the screenplay of the film, continues the narration: “Pemmena, one of the women, enacted by Kamalini Mukherjee, has a fascination for the Srank but he is reluctant to reciprocate her sentiments. However, she realises that he already had a wife, a speech- and hearing-impaired woman called Kali, played by Sri Lankan actor Meena Kumari.

The third woman in the Srank’s life is Revamma (Padmapriya), whom he meets during his life on the Malabar coast. An enthused Padmapriya gives an outline of her character in the film.

About relationships

“I am not a Buddhist monk as reported in certain news papers. Instead, I am a woman studying the principles of Buddhism. The character evolves as she becomes close to Kutty Srank and gradually she is drawn to the principles of Buddhism. The whole story is about the relationships that he shares with the three women,” says Padmapriya.

Filming this kaleidoscopic picture of the Srank is cinematographer Anjali. She is, perhaps, the first woman to wield the camera for a feature film in Malayalam.

The director says that it was done deliberately keeping in view the theme of the film.

“The film is on the perspectives of three women and their memories of the Srank. There is evidently a difference in the way a man and a woman would visualise things. Hence, the decision to have Anjali as a cinematographer,” says Shaji.

The film is being produced by Reliance Big Entertainment.

Isaac Thomas Kottukappilly composes the music of the film. Still photographer is Paul Bathery.


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