Short film ‘Mudi’ talks about the politics of caste
The short film throws light on the discrimination faced by barbers
KOCHI: For Yassir Muhamed, young and debut filmmaker, film is a tool to delve into unique storytelling. With his recent 45- minute Malayalam film, ‘Mudi’, he narrates the life of a barber, Mani, and his personal conflicts even at the time of the pandemic. Mudi is also a film that opens a window into the seclusion and discrimination the barbers face as social outcasts.
‘Mudi’ happens in a scenic island village, Pandarathuruth, which is isolated from the mainland. The only store that provides groceries and provisions for residents of the village is owned by a man named Sura played by theatre actor Avisenna. However, Mani, the barber of the village played by Anand Bal is in conflict with Sura who was his old friend. Mani buys his household provisions from a shop on the mainland. But pandemic results in lockdown in the state and the village also becomes a containment zone. Mani’s decision not to buy from Sura turned out to be the hardest test of his life. He is tangled between his resolute ego towards a friend-turned-foe and the needs for his wife and only daughter.
Yasir who penned and directed the film received the story thread of ‘Mudi’ while delivering medicines to a patient during the first lockdown as directed by his wife who is a doctor. The Thrissur native who is also an illustrator and artist is excited about his debut independent directorial.
The director says, “During the first pandemic, affected areas were divided as several containment zones and I noticed a guy who had been fighting with police to allow him to buy things from a store which is situated in a nearby containment zone. The reason, he had some personal grudge against the shopkeeper in his area. This evoked me. I have seen how the barbers are portrayed in films as introverts and poor people so thought of making a different outlook for them.“Even though their children are educated with white-collar jobs or are professionals like doctors, they are tagged as barber’s children. Their status is low even in the marriage market,” he says.
Apart from conveying plights of people faced during lockdown, the film is rich with visuals of rural villages in Thrissur. Actress Manju Sunichan has also played a prominent role in the film. The film is produced by Hamzam whereas Ahammed Naseeb handled photography.