S.N. Sreeprakash cherishes the Republic Day of 2010; the day he received the Andaman & Nicobar Islands' Lt. Governor's Commendation Certificate for his artistic pursuits.
The Islands are home to this artiste, who settled there in 1986. Perhaps it was his deep attachment to his new home on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands that motivated him to play the protagonist in a documentary on one of the most poignant memorials of the Indian freedom struggle on the Islands — the Cellular Jail or Kalapani.
“Mounathinte Nilavili” (Scream of Silence), is a documentary on the jail. The movie is like a collage that uses Sreeprakash's paintings in acrylic and water colour to narrate a harrowing episode in Indian history.
“The work has three perspectives — of the jail, of the inmates, and a direct report. Our aim was to convey the importance of this monument to the present generation; it is, perhaps, the first such attempt in Malayalam,” says Santhosh P.D., who directed the documentary scripted by V.R. Ajith Kumar, deputy director, Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala, and Dominic J. Kattoor, assistant professor, University College.
“Through 50-odd paintings, the story of the prison is told. The experience has been heart-warming, yet painful,” says Sreeprakash. A view of the jail, the arrival of the ships carrying the prisoners, the torture meted out to the prisoners, the gallows (where three people could be hanged at a time), the brutal jailor David Barrie (“just drew him from my imagination”) and Ross Island against the backdrop of the jail — all have been portrayed by Sreeprakash in the 25-minute documentary.
“I mingle with the tribes, sketch sitting in their houses, and have now become close to them,” he says.