‘Churuli’ animator’s short film explores the idea of universal conflict, set in the backdrop of Kerala


Balram J’s ‘Story of a Beginning’ is presented by Lijo Jose Pellissery, and captures the beauty of small-town Kerala through the eyes of children searching for answers

“Where do you think this stream comes from?” This simple innocent question sets off three kids on a journey to find its origin, and in the course of the journey, showcases the differences in their beliefs and ideas. The picturesque trip filled with trivial and silly arguments ends at an emotionally satisfying point where all the questions are answered.

Malayalam animated short film ‘Oru Thudakkathinte Kadha’ or ‘Story of a Beginning’ by Balaram J., in a little over 10 minutes, explores the eternal conflict of ideas among people.

Speaking about the inspiration for the project, he says, “When I started this film, there were various religious issues across the country — that tormented me — and I wanted to do something about it in my work. It is the need of the hour that we learn to accept and make peace with differences in our opinions or beliefs.”

Presented by acclaimed filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery, each frame is a picture-postcard view, painstakingly hand-drawn on a digital platform by Balaram himself. He had worked previously on the end-credit animation of Malayalam movie Jallikattu and is currently the animation and VFX design supervisor for Pellissery’s upcoming film Churuli.

A still from Balram’s ‘Oru Thudakkathinte Kadha’

A still from Balram’s ‘Oru Thudakkathinte Kadha’
 

Story of a Beginning is a tale from my life. My friend and I did walk in search of the beginning of our village stream, and this incident connected well with the idea for a film I had in mind,” says Balaram, who graduated this year from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

“To quote Khalil Gibran – ‘I am ignorant of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honour and my reward.’ For me, this is what the kid searching for the stream’s origin believes and stands for,” he adds.

With mangoes, love apples and coconut trees, it is a story with all the local flavours of a scenic village in Kerala. The theme is so universal, leaving you wide-eyed with interest, suspense and making you search yourself for answers. The film’s three stars are as guileless as possible, and you cannot help but think about your childhood.

Sound designer Renganaath Ravee and music composer Sreerag Saji add a soulful touch to the film, which also has a stunning background score. Seen through the children’s ingenuous eyes, the artfully-rendered work is a simple sunny story in these gloomy times. The technical assistance was provided by Eunoians Creative Studio, Kochi.

Story of a Beginning will screen till August 8 (8 p.m.) at Nottingham Arts Mela.

It is an Official Selection at the 12th International Inter-University Film Festival and can be watched on Youtube at 10.15 am on August 9. It has also been officially selected for Bengaluru International Short Film Festival 2020.



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