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Malayalam film ‘Kalla Nottam’ has unconventional narrative

Child actors Ansu Maria Thomas, Vasudev S Marar, Suryadev S Marar in Kalla Nottam (2)-1596606776049

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What happens when a little boy steals a camera from a store and decides to make a film?

‘Kalla Nottam’ (False Eye) directed by Rahul Riji Nair follows 10-year-old Vincent who steals a camera from a provisions store. What begins innocently turns into a nightmare for a young woman once the camera changes hands.

This is Nair’s third feature — he won the Kerala State Award for his debut film, ‘Ottamuri Velicham’, and his sophomore film was the entertainer ‘Dakini’.

‘Kalla Nottam’ had its world premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival held between July 24 and August 2. It was nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Child Artist.

Touching on socio-political issues, ‘Kalla Nottam’ ridicules the hero culture seen in mainstream cinema and raises questions about moral policing and voyeurism. Having watched the film, this writer feels that it is not just an unconventional story that makes ‘Kalla Nottam’ unique but the narrative told with long shots and jerky movements of the camera that hail it as an interesting experiment. And that makes the audience a part of the experience.

Child actors Ansu Maria Thomas, Vasudev S Marar, Suryadev S Marar in Kalla Nottam (1)-1596606772423

“In a state like Kerala which boasts of high literacy rates, cases of moral policing is on the rise due to the regressive and rigid moral codes which are packaged as cultural and religious norms,” said Nair.

“A woman’s privacy is today a soft target with the constantly rising voyeuristic nature of the society. It is constantly held hostage and is used as a tool to threaten and blackmail them to conformity. ‘Kalla Nottam” explores how a woman’s trust is abused and her integrity questioned by the constant false gaze she encounters at various stages of her life,” he added.

‘Kalla Nottam’ is led by child actor Vasudev Sajeesh Marar and is well supported by child actors Suryadev Sajeesh Marar and Ansu Maria Thomas as well as Vinitha Koshy of ‘Ottamuri Velicham.’

Tobin Thomas has handled the camera and the title music is scored by Sidhartha Pradeep.

Post the world premiere, ‘Kalla Nottam’ is being appreciated for its novel story and making. Nair’s challenge now lies in seeing the film’s release on OTT platform.

“Kalla Nottam’ is an independent film with no star in the lead and that makes it difficult and all the more in the pandemic times,” he added.


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