‘Go Kochi’ shows the city’s old and unfamiliar sights in new ways
In a little under six minutes, cinematographer/editor Sameer Sakkariya’s video ‘Go Kochi’, a promotion for Kerala tourism, shows places in the city that people living here don’t know about. Uploaded on YouTube recently and shared by several celebrities on their socials, it is clocking in views.
Intended to showcase the city as a tourist destination, the video is a love note to it. What sets the fast-paced video apart is how Sameer ‘shows’ Kochi’s familiar, much-photographed locations and also hidden gems, “I did not want to show the typical sights.” The visuals he has captured changes the way of ‘seeing’ even the familiar sights — the iconic Thoppumpady bridge at sunset, Edappally’s St. George Forane Church, Bolgatty Palace, Fort Kochi’s Chinese fishing nets and many others.
“The angles make all the difference. Something could have been photographed many times, but a different angle changes it,” he says. So much so that he has had calls asking him where some of the locations were.
“For example a lot of people asked me about the Ernakulam Old Railway Station, which is behind the Kerala High Court. Not many people know that it is there. Similarly a spot in Mangalavanam, which I found during one of my location hunting excursions.” The video footage is the result of 18 days filming. It could not be randomly shot, each location carefully chosen.
Not wanting to show typical sights associated with Kochi, he hunted for locations — finding some on his own and with other people pointing the way. “I would get into my car and just drive. I have literally stumbled on some of these places. All the places are in a 25-30 km radius of Kochi.”
Travel videos such as these are challenging since time is a luxury. “I opted for fast-cut editing which helped pack in a number of destinations. It would not have been possible otherwise.” He has his production company Playmaker Film House.
This is his second video in the ‘Go…’ series for Kerala Tourism; the first being Go Trivandrum (2018). He will follow this up with similar videos on Calicut, Kannur and Alappuzha . The Kochi video was ready before lockdown, however he requested for it to be released once the situation settled down and people started travelling.
An engineer who picked up the camera for the sheer love of it, he has taught himself everything he knows about not just photography but also editing. The Varkala native quit the IT industry and has spent the last nine years chasing his dream. “This is the only thing I have done, practised and experimented till I figured it out.” He wants to direct a film, which he is set to soon. His first film will be a survival thriller in Hindi, the filming will start soon.