Very little has been done to help those living the lives of refugees in their own land. ‘Paradeshi’ is an effort to remind us about this marginalised section of society.
Film director P.T. Kunhimohammed is delighted that his latest film ‘Paradeshi’ has succeeded in making people think. P.K. Ajith Kumar finds out more about his films and the television programme he has been hosting for the last seven years.
‘Paradeshi’ may not have exactly set the box office on fire.
But it set people thinking.
That is precisely what director P.T. Kunhimohammed wanted.
“The trauma of living a refugee’s life in one’s own land is something not most of us are aware of, though there are many such people, especially in the Malabar region, who are still being persecuted by the police and others because they have not been granted Indian citizenships,” says Mr. Kunhimohammed.
“The plight of these victims of the Partition did get some attention of late because of the media. But little has been done to help them.
I am happy that through ‘Paradeshi,’ I could remind the people about a marginalised section of society,” he says.
‘Paradeshi’ is much more than a reminder.
It is also a good film with memorable performances by Mohanlal, Jagathy Sreekumar, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and Padmapriya.
“Music plays such an important part in the lives of Muslims in Malabar,” says Kunhimohammed, a former MLA.
“That was why I was very keen about the songs in ‘Paradeshi,’ the director says.
Composer Ramesh Narayanan was doubtful if the song Thattam pidich… would work without background music, but I was confident that it would,” Kunhimohammed adds.
It was in fact the director who gave Ramesh Narayanan his first song in Malayalam — Parayan maranna…, a ghazal sung by Hariharan.
The film was ‘Garshom’ (1999).
“I still get messages and calls from people about ‘Garshom.’
The film was based on my own experiences as an expatriate in the Middle East as well those of some of my friends.
I think ‘Garshom’ moved people because the situations were so real,” he says.
His first film, ‘Magrib,’ about a mentally challenged man convicted for murder, also draws from real life.
“Unlike my first two films, I had to do a lot of research for Paradeshi, the director said.
Kunhimohammed got associated with Malayalam cinema as a producer of his friend K.R. Mohanan’s films, ‘Aswathamavu,’ ‘Purushartham’ and ‘Swaroopam.’
He also anchors a television show ‘Pravasalokam.’
The programme tries to locate people who went missing in the Middle East.
“You could come to terms with someone’s death, but what could you do when you do not know what happened to your loved one?
The response to the programme, which went on air for the first time in 2000, has been overwhelming,” Kunhimohammed points out.