Daily Wage Plantation Worker Wins Best Film at Kerala State Awards
A still from <i>Kanthan: The Lover of Colour</i>, which won Best Film at the 49th Kerala State Film Awards.
A still from Kanthan: The Lover of Colour, which won Best Film at the 49th Kerala State Film Awards.(Photo Courtesy: YouTube screengrab)

Daily Wage Plantation Worker Wins Best Film at Kerala State Awards

Kanthan: The Lover of Colour, a film by plantation worker Sharif Eesa, won the award for Best Film at the 49th Kerala State Film Awards which were held in Thiruvananthapuram on 27 July.

The film sheds light on the lives of Kerala’s adivasis through the story of a young orphan who lives with his grandmother, played by local activist Dayabai. It has been shot in an Adivasi village in Wayanad, the Nengara colony that’s home to the Aidya tribe. The screenplay has been written by Eesa's friend and poet Pramod Kooveri, who is also a resident of the village.

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For the past 15 years, Eesa has been a daily wage worker at the rubber plantations in Kannur’s Chapparapadavu village in Kerala. He has also held positions in the children, student and youth wings of the CPI(M). Before Kanthan, he had directed several dramas, street plays, three short film and had worked as an assistant director on a couple of low budget films, but the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula in 2016 prompted him to venture into feature filmmaking, writes Scroll. Eesa reportedly spent his life’s savings on the project. “I had sold my wife’s jewellery and my camera, and I still have a debt of Rs 20 lakh. The best thing about the award is that now I can confidently ask for more time to repay my debt,” he told the publication.

The Kerala State Chalachithra Academy also honoured actors Jayasurya and Soubin Shahir, who won Best Actor; Nimisha Vijayan, who won Best Actress for Chole and Oru Kuprasidha Payyan and Shyamaprasad who was judged Best Director.

(With inputs from Scroll)

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