Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ottal ...

Last week I was invited to a screening and review of a movie. "Ottal" an adaptation of Anton Chekov's Vanka by Joshy Mangalath, directed by Jayaraj. The movie won a National Award, good thing. But a movie which should reach out to millions remains branded as an "Award Movie" or as the elite refer to it as an "Art House Cinema". But after watching it, I realized that a movie, if it is considered as a language of expressing one's thought, is better understood if watched by more people. I had the same feeling about the movie "Artist" by Shyamaprasad. 

A close to life movie, Ottal, talks mainly about a child's feeling when he is forced to leave his beloved land and his grandfather and work in a firecracker company for sustenance. But on a closer look the movie has many layers. It talks about the status divide in our land, it talks about children who do not understand the social divides, the bad practice of claiming someone else's work to be their own, the old practices, which are slowly getting erased from the world due to developments and many more. 

The movie opens with Kuttappayi writing a letter to his grandfather. Even writing letters has become a thing of the past. The beauty of Kuttanand, the old light posts for boats, the innocent friendship of Kuttappayi and Tinku, the old techniques of hatching ducks eggs with a brooding hen... the movie takes you through different layers of knowledge. If in Anton Chekov's short story Vanka was making shoes, Kuttapayi is trapped in the fireworks factory. Even after a 100 years of growth in the world, have we reached only at a point where the same social conditions persists. It is an eye opener or a rain check for what and where we are heading to.

The skills which a child gets being close to the older generation and nature is a gift and Kuttapayi, the protagonist has been bestowed with all that and more. All to end up in a factory. Child labour is not the issue alone, it is the childhood itself. How many children are close to nature as we were. We were fortunate enough to have played in the sand and mud and enjoyed the colours of nature and not stuck with Playstations, Xboxes or Wii's. 

The world that is devoid of feelings these days, or even if it exists, it is limited to social networking sites, gets a whiff of fresh air from this film. A must watch, if you understand what I have scribbled here.  Read Anton Checkov, or watch Ottal .... at least make a beginning ... an effort to change. 

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