Initially Cancelled After Right Wing Threats, Malayalam Documentary On Demonetisation Attracts Hundreds Of Viewers
The attempt to foil the screening of a Malayalam film on a tea-seller’s woes after demonetisation, by Sangh Parivar’s activists, has fetched it more viewers.
Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University have reached out to the filmmaker for showcasing the documentary in their campus and many have requested that the film be made available online.
After the first screening was cancelled over threats, on the September 23, the Delhi Union of Journalists screened ‘Oru Chaayakkadakkarante Mann Ki Baat’ (A tea seller’s Mann Ki Baat), the next day.
The film was scheduled to be presented on Monday at the Kerala Club in Delhi but was scared into cancellation. “Ironically, none of those who oppose the film have actually watched it. It is the life story of 75-year-old Yahiya, who had to undergo many hardships throughout his life. Demonetisation came as a huge blow to him,” said Sanu Kummil, the filmmaker.
What Is The Documentary About?
The documentary begins from his early years of struggle in a family of 13 children to working as a labourer in abject conditions in Saudi Arabia. He becomes a tea-seller later in his life in Kadakkal. He used to bury his savings in small pits since he was once robbed. When PM Modi announced demonetisation, Yahiya had INR 23,000 saved in those pits. When he lined up in a queue of a bank to exchange the notes, his sugar level dropped and he had to be hospitalised. On being discharged, he burned all the demonetised notes in anger, thus ashing away all his savings.
Today, as a man still recovering from the blow, he has a shaved head and a half-shaved moustache that he got done after the first anniversary of demonetisation.
The documentary won a lot of appreciation in Kerala and also fetched Sanu Kummil the Best Short Documentary Award at the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy last year.
The screening of the documentary in Delhi was organised by the Clone Cinema Alternative, in association with the Kerala Club. The title of the film, which refers to PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat radio programme, caught the attention of right-winged activists who found it necessary to call for the cancellation of its Delhi presentation as it showed the Prime Minister in bad light.