Reviving traditional customs

Donning a new role.  

IT WAS a thrilling experience for the residents of the `agraharam' (Brahmin colony) in the precincts of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. When the shooting crew of Revathi Kalamandir's latest film, `Sita Kalyanam' descended on the relatively dormant street, it soon started humming like a beehive.

The row of houses on either sides of the street wore a festive look with an array of lighted lamps. The women and children dressed in flamboyant colours were busy decking up the houses and bursting crackers. Without much effort, the director, T.K. Rajiv Kumar, could shoot the ceremony of taking the bridegroom around the town.

Jayaram and Jyothika, who are doing the lead roles in the film and a couple of other artistes, including Kalpana, Jagadish and Janardhanan, were also there on the street. "The residents of the `agraharams' gave a warm reception to the artistes and voluntarily came out and cooperated with the crew. "The response was very encouraging. We needed women and children to accompany the car in which Jayaram was seated. This was managed without any effort,'' says the producer, G. Suresh Kumar.

The film `Sita Kalyanam', the shooting of which is progressing in the city, focuses on the need to revive and sustain the traditional customs and conventions which are being eschewed for the sake of convenience. The director, T.K. Rajiv Kumar, says: "With the advent of modernity, traditional values and customs have taken a beating and now rituals which were once considered sacred and inevitable are either being condensed or totally disregarded. This transformation is being narrated in a comical vein."

The seven-day marriage of the Brahmin community, replete with rituals, is in effect an enactment of life in toto. There is almost everything we come across in our daily lives and that lends significance and sanctity to the rituals,'' he says.

Directing the crew.

Directing the crew.  

`Sumangali prarthanai' is one of the rituals. Hindus consider it auspicious if the wife dies when her husband is alive. Such women are called `sumangalis.' The families of both the bride and the bridegroom pray for the death of the bride in the dusk of her life when the husband is alive. This ceremony is held before the wedding at the bride's house first and at the groom's residence after the wedding.

Many such prominent rituals, including `Mappilai sweekaranam,' `Janavasanam' and `Mangalasnanam', figure in the film. These rituals may sound a bit strange to the younger generation. The lead characters in the film being played by Jayaram and Jyothika, are IT professionals who do not hold it imperative to stick to the tradition. Still, they are being made to follow them religiously and that is the irony, says Rajiv Kumar.

The Fort area has been selected as the main location as the story focuses on the Tamil-speaking community and develops in an `agraharam.' As many as 100 persons, including men and women from the neighbourhood, have been roped in to act in various scenes. Reghu, who had so far appeared as villain in mainstream films, dons the role of a `thavil' maestro. The noted Tamil playback singer, Sreenivas, scores music and the cameraman of `Chandini Bar' cranks the camera.

By Nair N.J.