A film which both promotes the rich tradition of the Sanskrit language and takes us back to the age-old Krishna-Kulecha story. That is what Namo, an IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Feature Film endeavours to do. “Sanskrit is a rich language but I found it has not been receiving much attention. Hence, I wanted to make a movie in the Sanskrit language.” Director Vijeesh Mani said this, addressing a press conference in Panaji, Goa today, January 23, 2021, at the 51st International Film Festival of India. The 102-minute 2019 film has been screened at the festival yesterday.
What is the central message of the film? Mani explains: “The film shows us how a ruler and a citizen should be. The plot of ‘Namo’ begins in the present, and goes on to connect us back to the relationship between Krishna and Sudhama.”
The Krishna-Kuchela story is often told to illustrate that God does not differentiate between people based on their financial status. He always rewards real devotion. As per the Bhagavata Purana, Lord Sri Krishna studied at the Ashramam of Guru Sandipan along with Kuchela (Sudama), a poor Brahmin boy. Very soon, both become close friends, but part ways after completing their studies. Later Sri Krishna ruled the Kingdom of Dwaraka, while his true friend Kuchela remained poor, earning his bread by singing Sree Krishna bhajans.
The director pointed out that the Namo crew had a wide range of artists hailing from different parts of the country. “Padma Shri Anoop Jalota gave the music, B. Lenin Sir edited it and cinematographer Loganathan captured it.”
He reveals his directorial aspiration to try out different genres of films. “I always wanted to direct films of different genres. My first film Vishwaguru (Malayalam) – was completed in 51 hours, all the way from script to screening. The film was recorded in Guinness World Records as the fastest produced film. It was also released in theatres.”
He informed how he is able to retain the autonomy in the choice of his preferred genres. “I myself produce all my films. This gives me the freedom to decide the genre independently. I am on my own and hence I can do many experiments with film making.”
The director has made films in tribal languages too. His film ‘Netaji’ is the first film to have been made in ‘Irula’, a Dravidian language spoken by inhabitants of Nilgiri Hills. This film entered Guinness Records for being the first film in this tribal language. The film was also screened last year in 2019 during the 50th IFFI in Goa. His other films include Puzhayamma (Malayalam), which has been shot completely in a river, and Mmmmm (Kurumba – a least popular tribal language). Puzhayamma is an environmental awareness film which got a place in Asian Book of Records.