Up-and-coming filmmakers from Kerala are shooting short films and mini-web series on the pandemic, which entertain and enlighten
Memes and artworks based on the coronavirus are aplenty. Now, filmmakers from Kerala are also coming out with short films and mini-web series based on the theme. While some of the creations adopt an "infotainment" tone and are aimed at generating awareness about the importance of staying at home and related do’s and don’ts, others attempt to find the funny side to a life under lockdown, portrayed with a dose of quirky humour.
For instance, Mubashir T’s short film ‘Break the Chain’, released on the YouTube channel Kudukku, turns the spotlight on the importance of staying in isolation if a person is required to do so. The film zooms in on a youth, bedevilled by homesickness and paranoia, who is on the run after jumping quarantine at an isolation ward. He is soon tracked down by a concerned friend who sensitises him on the need to return to the ward.
"I struck upon the idea after reading reports about people fleeing isolation wards," says Mubashir from Malappuram. The 24-year-old shot the film before the lockdown came into effect. "In a way, I’m lucky since I was able to shoot outdoors," he adds. ‘Break the Chain’ also attempts to show that "the need of the hour is not fear but alertness."
For many, the lockdown life has suddenly lent a lot of time indoors, with several keeping themselves engaged and entertained in multiple ways. Thiruvananthapuram-based filmmaker Vishnu Udayan’s web series Corona Kaalathe Jeevitha Kazhchakal — Quarantine Series featuring short comic clips finds humour in everyday life.
"We see a lot of people taking to quirky activities such as online challenges, like sari challenge and push-up challenge, or playing Ludo and so on. My series is based on observational humour," he says. Of course, getting together for the shoot is out of the question and what Vishnu does is to get the actors themselves to shoot their portions in their respective homes using mobile phones that he then collates and edits for the series.
Others, like Mollywood assistant director Anuradha Indira, channelled own experiences into creative expressions on frames. Having travelled for work before the lockdown came into effect, Anuradha and her husband, Hestin Jose Joseph, a cinematographer, decided to go into self-quarantine at a relative’s unoccupied house in Ettumanoor, Kottayam. "It was just a precautionary measure as parents stay at our house. We always wanted to work on a horror-themed short and now we had a lot of time for ourselves," says Anuradha, who assisted in Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Allu Ramendran. They scripted Hello? — A Quarantine Short, which was shot at the same house they were staying in. The film feature two characters, one played by Anuradha herself and the other by a cousin of Hestin’s.
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Works such as Coronavirus Short Film blends humour with a social message to highlight how effective action can keep the dreaded disease at bay. In it, the coronavirus is comically represented as a virulent personification, stalking deserted streets and threatening to transgress doorsteps, but only to be decimated by prudent safety measures by people. Go Corona Go, released on the YouTube channel Tripplegreen, metaphorically lauds Kerala’s relatively successful efforts at containing the spread of the virus, with quirky humour.
The medium may be short, but such films seem to go a long way to both entertain and enlighten.
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