The Malayalam movie Jalasamadhi, directed by Venu Nair is taking a straight view as to how parents become a liability to their wards and pitiable lives of the poverty stricken ordinary people in the village of Meenakshipalayam in Tamil Nadu.
Jalasamadhi, (Death by water) the Malayalam film, produced and directed by the renowned film maker, Venu Nair, under Venu Nair Production banner, is pointing finger at the huge social disaster of Thalaikoothal (senicide), the evil practice of pouring water on the head of the elderly and allow the person to die of pneumonia, which is reported to have still been practiced in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu. The movie portrays the crass commercialisation and the use and throw attitude that is rampant in the society.
Speaking to The Indian News, Venu Nair says the crass commercialisation is plaguing the society, be it materialistic objects or be it human beings, once is the use is over, they are dumped. Jalasamadhi portrays the changing attitude of our contemporary society and the changed attitudes of the new generation. This is impacting social ties. Disturbed about news reports that aged parents were dumped at temples and public places, along with other social evils such as the Thalaikoothal, Nair wanted to script a story stitching all these burning issues under a single canvas. After making a script, when he was wanting to pad up with more information, Nair contact his author friend Sethu, who had written a story on the subject, titled Adayalangal. “It was when I read Sethu’s story, I was completely impressed and decided to adapt that story instead of mine. Then Sethu sat and wrote the script for Jalasamadhi,” Venu Nair said.
Speaking about the theme of Jalasamadhi, Venu Nair said: “The story roughly goes like this. The unemployed youth wants his father to die while he was still in service, so that he gets that job on the compassionate ground. Already suffering from the pangs of neglect and lack of love from his family, after realising that in any case he had become a liability, the father resigns to his fate and agrees to die.
While throwing light on the changing lack of respect for the elderly people in this dog eat dog world, the film also highlights many abuses the society extends towards environment and other issues.
About the shoot location and star cast, Venu Nair said: “We roped in Tamil film actor, MS Bhaskar to play the role of the protagonist. Although, we shortlisted many actors from Mollywood, nevertheless, we found, Bhaskar as the apt actor to handle a powerful character. In addition to Bhaskar, others who had acted in this film includes Renjith Shekar Nair, Vishnu Prakash, Likha Rajan, Shyam Krishnan and Akhil Kumar. Prejith was hired for cinematography. We chose Kumily as the location for shooting this film, where we identified a small colony of Tamil speaking families. There were around 100 houses located in this interior of Kumily, which had a beautiful lake flowing, in addition to a temple. As this colony was cut off from other clustered residential areas, we felt this location was apt for us to shoot.”
All the earlier films he had made had some social issue or the other highlighted. Venu Nair, born on December 22, 1964 is passionate about making movies that sends strong message to the society. He is director, producer and screenwriter all rolled into one. Although, Nair was born in Ambalapuzha in Alapuzha district, nevertheless, he grew up in Kottayam. His films had fetched him state, national and international awards. In the ’90s he had directed in excess of 100 short films, mini series and television serials and had won several accolades including UN FAO – OSIRIS International Award for his movie, Digging Mercy at the Agrofilm 2010 Slovac Republic. Other awards Venu Nair had bagged included International Recycling Fund Award at the 36th International Festival of Sustainable Development Films, Ekotopfilm 2009 in Slovac Republic for his film, Farming Our Future in addition to winning the Kerala State Television Award for the Best Director and Producer instituted by Kerala Chalachithra Academy, Government of Kerala. Nair also won the National Award for the Best Tourism Film for his documentary film, The Mythology of Aranmula Metal Mirror for 2006-07 from the Union Ministry of Tourism. The same film was also nominated for the Delphic Art Movie Award 2011 at Berlin, Germany.
Venu Nair’s mini series, Sethuvinte Kathakal gained wide recognition from the viewers in Kerala and this fetched him many accolades. What is more, Nair also won yet another Kerala State Award for his documentary film, A Life Redrawn in 2018. Nair’s films were also selected and screened at different global film festivals including Green Unplugged International Film Festival 2011, USA-New Zealand-Indonesia-India, Third Tutti Nello Stesso Piatto International Food, Film and Video Diversity Festival 2011, Trento in Ital, the Fourth China International Animal and Nature Film Festival of Biodiversity, Rome in Italy; Tenth River to River Florence Indian Film Festival in Italy, Fifth Biennial International Nature Film Competition Vaasa in Finland in 2010 and Fifteenth International Environmental Film and Video Festival Seia in Portugal (2009). With three decades of experience in film making, Venu Nair’s foray into feature film was through Jalasamadhi.
Married to Gurdeep Kaur, the film maker lives in Thiruvananthapuram with their daughters, Gouthami Kaur Nair and Gayatri Kaur Nair.