What is the change that newsmakers from Kerala like Basil Joseph, S Hareesh, Sithara Krishnakumar, Regi Mathew, Chitra EG and Deepika Suseelan want to see in 2023
As we reach the fag end of 2022, it is time to look ahead and peer into what the New Year holds for us. Apart from resolutions made and unmade, many of us nurse hopes for changes that we wish to see in the New Year. People who have made a name in different fields talk about their vision for 2023
The techie-turned-filmmaker won laurels as an actor and moved centrestage in two films that showcased his acting chops — Palthu Janwar and Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. He also won the Asian Academy Creative Award for the best director for his Tovino-starrer Minnal Murali.
“Hard work and dedication to my work did yield results in 2022. The sequel to Minnal Murali may have to wait as I am planning another film to direct. I have been working back to back on several projects and was unable to spend enough time with my family. I hope to strike a healthy work-life balance next year and make time for my family.
If there is one change that is sorely needed in Kerala, that must be a drastic improvement in the state of our roads. Good roads are a necessity and we really have a long way to go when it comes to roads that are in good shape.”
Multiple award-winning writer Hareesh has made a mark as a scenarist, especially with his scripts for maverick filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery. Their latest collaboration, Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, premiered during the International Film Festival of Kerala and won the Audience Prize Rajata Chakoram.
“I am working on a couple of new screenplays, this time with directors I have not worked with previously. While Malayalam literature has won the attention of pan-India, it would be wonderful to see it going international.
“I wish that Kerala’s society becomes more independent of religious hardliners. Although we pride ourselves on our progressive outlook, the last couple of years has seen an erosion in those liberal values. The adverse influence of religion did decrease in 2022, but we need to shake ourselves free from the rise of any kind of fundamentalism.”
(Playback singer, indie musician, composer and lead singer of Project Malabaricus)
Trained in Carnatic and Hindustani music, Sithara’s versatility as a singer has taken her places within a short time in the music industry. During the pandemic, her music videos created waves.
“Post-pandemic restrictions, there has been a huge surge in live programmes. Many of us have been travelling without a break since then for concerts. I usually take a periodic break to learn and upgrade my music. In 2023, I want to resume that and step back a little to focus on an area of study.
“Indie music in all languages, including Malayalam, was celebrated during the last two years. I hope that continues. Kerala has seen a rise in well-curated indie music fetes that include multiple genres of music. We should have more of that so we can hear diverse voices and styles in the coming years.”
(Artist-sculptor and organic farmer)
Thuruthe, a sculpture complex by Chitra EG at Idam, Durbar Hall Gallery in Ernakulam, as part of the Kochi Biennale, has been the cynosure of all eyes.
Works of Chitra, a recipient of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademic award and the National Youth Artist scholarship, are invested with her thoughts on body politics.
“I am perturbed that visual language has not been accorded the same significance that literature enjoys in Kerala. Even cinema, a visual medium, depends so much on the script, but we have seen movies where the visuals take the story beyond the realm of the script. It is time we accord visual media gains a pride of place in Kerala. The Kochi Biennale is certainly a step in that direction.
“The fine arts colleges in our State still do not have academic facilities for research. That is a lacuna that needs to be corrected. Moreover, one wishes that more women are given leadership positions in government bodies like the Lalithakala Akademi.”
(Artistic director and curator of the 27th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala)
Stepping into the shoes of veteran Bina Paul, who had been the face of the festival, might not have been easy for Deepika. But she proved herself and there was praise from all quarters for the overall selection of films for IFFK.
“It is unfair when people depend on age to judge a person’s competence. Youth has nothing to do with a person’s expertise in a particular line of work. In Kerala, there is so much reluctance to accept that someone young can be in a responsible position and deliver the goods. So, decision-making posts are denied to you if you are deemed to be ‘young’. Yet, if you make a mistake, that same youth cannot be used as an excuse. I want to be judged by my work and capability and not by my age.”
(chef and co-proprietor of Kappa, Chakka, Kandhari in Chennai and Bengaluru )
Hyper local Malayali cuisine has been the strength of his restaurants. By highlighting ethnic food that is often missing in many restaurants even in Kerala, Regi showcased the cooking techniques and ingredients that are found in abundance in the State.
“Authentic Kerala cuisine that uses the wealth of ingredients in the State should win global attention. We have taken the best cooking techniques and ingredients from all the visitors who reached the shores of the State and infused those with local flavours and ingredients to make it a part of our cuisine. That food has not won enough attention globally. It is the food that is made by our mothers. The culinary wealth of Kerala has not got the place or attention it deserves.”