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“Niraye Thathakalulla Maram” offers IFFI 52 delegates a poignant take on “compassion which is slowly vanishing from society”

“We humans are losing our ability to empathise, to show kindness and care” Jayaraj, Director of “Tree Full of Parrots”

“People like Narayanan perceive the nature and the world around them much better than us”: Director Jayaraj, on the visually challenged protagonist

“This is the most precious day of my life, as I could participate in a great film festival such as IFFI”: Narayanan Cherupuzha

OTT and theatres can co-exist for the growth of cinema: Jayaraj

Posted On: 26 NOV 2021 5:59PM by PIB Mumbai

Panaji, 26 November 2021


The selfless care and wholesome concern a young boy shows toward a visually challenged old man who has lost his way and most of his memory. Film lovers at the 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India got the heart-warming opportunity to get drenched in the unalloyed beauty of this pristine love, thanks to Niraye Thathakalulla Maram, a Malayalam film by the renowned maverick director Jayaraj. The film has been presented to IFFI 52 delegates, in the Indian Panorama Feature Film Category of the festival.

The ability to manifest the extraordinary beauty hiding deceptively in the ordinary everyday aspects of human existence has always been Jayaraj’s forte and signature. Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the festival yesterday, November 25, 2021, the master director explained what the film seeks to portray.

Niraye Thathakalulla Maram is a poignant take on feelings like compassion, which is slowly vanishing from our society. It is a moving journey through the various human expressions of love, hope, despair, consideration and care.”

Notably, Tree Full of Parrots is competing for the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Award, given to an IFFI film that best reflects Mahatma Gandhi's ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence.

So, how did this heartrending journey begin? Eight-year-old Poonjan sees a lost blind man sitting alone at a boat jetty. Jayaraj explains: “The boy sees this old man sitting in a boat jetty, having lost his way back home. Besides his name, all the old demented man can remember is a certain tree full of parrots in front of his house. No one cared to help him, not even the police.”

But Poonjan decides to help and tries to find the way to the blind man’s home, asking directions to acquaintances and strangers en route. Jayaraj told IFFI delegates about the boy’s compassionate spirit. “We humans are losing our ability to empathise, to show kindness and care. Here, the boy shows compassion to the old man whom no one was ready to help. Through this 8-year-old boy and the special relationship he shared with the visually challenged old man, we are showing a feel of compassion.”

Giving a character-sketch of the boy, the director said: “The boy, who himself bears the burden of his entire family’s survival, decides to help this old man. The boy carries the responsibility of his entire family on his shoulders. He does odd jobs to take care of them and even skips school while doing so. He is the kind of kid, who is determined to protect his family with all his might.”

The unorthodox filmmaker, who holds a rich history of working with non-actors, shared the unique experience of working with Master Adithyan who plays the role of Poonjan and Narayanan Cherupuzha, who plays the old man. “I never controlled or guided them. Just gave the dialogue and they had their own way.”

Jayaraj shared with film lovers how working with Cherupuzha gifted him a brighter inner eye. “Narayanan is a visually challenged person. He is a teacher who has won the President’s Medal for Best Teacher. He runs a school for the visually challenged, in Kannur, Kerala. Through the course of making the film, I realised that he is able to see things which are not visible to us despite being endowed with vision. He has enlightened me and brightened my vision more.”

The director shared an anecdote to illustrate how Cherupuzha led him to this realization. “People like Narayanan perceive the nature and the world around them much better than us. One day while shooting, Narayan told me he wanted to touch a lotus leaf. That surreal moment made me realise the value people like him find in things which hold no value for us.” That was an enlightening moment for him, it was a unique revelation which changed many of his perceptions and perspectives, says Jayaraj.

Cherupuzha, who attended the press conference along with the director, producer Vinu R Nath and cameraman Shinu T Chacko, shared his immense joy in attending IFFI. “This is the most precious day of my life, as I could participate in a great film festival such as IFFI. I didn’t expect such an occasion in my life. When Jayaraj invited me to be a part of the film. I was not sure. But he was there for me all through the journey.”

Asked about the impact of OTT platforms on theatre, Jayaraj, who owns an OTT platform, opined that for the growth of cinema, both can coexist. “COVID-19 paved the way for a big leap in OTTs. Actually OTT platform is also like theatre. For some movies, OTT is the best due to the reach it offers. We need more movies, we want exposure and for that OTT is good.”

Nature played a crucial role in the narration of the story, by supporting reality and bringing the emotions to life. “We have not explicitly tried to tell anything through the movie. Nature plays an important role in that journey. It has this undertone, where it touches upon various emotions essential for human survival.”

Watch Niraye Thathakalulla Maram, to soak yourself in the immaculate beauty of not only pure filial love and compassion, but also of the unblemished backwaters of Kerala.

Jayaraj (aka Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair) is an award-winning director, screenwriter and producer known for films such as ‘Johnnie Walker’ (1992), ‘Thilakkam’ (2003) and the ambitious ‘Navarasa’ series.


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