Malayalam film 'Biriyani' bags honours at Asiatica film fete

Kani Kusruti has given an outstanding performance as Khadeeja in Biriyaani.  

Sajin Baabu has tasted international success with Biriyani. The Malayalam film, about a young woman whose brother joins the Islamic State (IS), has won the NETPAC prize at the Asiatica Film Festival in Rome.

The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) recognises talented filmmakers from Asia at various international festivals.

“The award came as a big surprise to me,” Sajin told The Hindu over phone from Rome. “There were only two awards for the entire festival, and I knew that I had won one of them only at the closing ceremony.”

He said he didn’t have big expectations because the festival had featured some outstanding films from countries like Iran and Vietnam. “Those films obviously were made on big budgets, unlike Biriyani,” he said. “But the reaction from the audience after screening the film was very positive, though.”

And it was the film’s premier. “I am glad that I could preview the film at an international festival, and that too in a country that has produced great directors like Pasolini.”

Sajin, who hails from a remote village called Koopu near Thiruvananthapuram, said Biriyani was an attempt to talk about several social issues a woman faces. “The film follows the life of Khadeeja, a Muslim woman whose brother joins IS,” he said. “The society doesn’t treat kindly the relatives of such men.”

He said Kani Kusruti had given an outstanding performance as Khadeeja. “It wasn’t an easy role, but she did a great job,” he said. “Her effort was appreciated by those who saw the film here in Rome.”

This is Sajin’s third film, after Asthamayam Vare and Ayaal Sassi. “It was after attending film festivals that I came to know of quality cinema,” he said. “Those festivals were an eye-opener for me, someone who comes from a village where there was no electricity till 2005.”

Biriyani, though, is only the latest Malayalam film to hog limelight at international festivals.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 3:26:23 PM |

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