If a couple of decades ago it was paintings, caricatures, cartoons, poetry and fiction that were the main weapons through which people expressed their excitement and rebellion, the new media has completely revolutionised the way people including poets, novelists, writers as well as commoners react to social issues.
Short films have emerged as a powerful tool in society’s hands and the new media makes it really inexpensive and efficient. Meet Sreeraj Onakkoor, who explores the various possibilities of short film making in his attempts to react to social issues.
Sreeraj is a journalist based in Kollam and is a movie freak. It was during regular chats with his friends the idea of making a short film crossed his mind. His first short film, Keni (the trap), released in 2014, was uploaded on YouTube and was viewed and lauded by a large audience. The movie spanning around 15 minutes narrates the experience of a young, independent woman who is being trapped by one of her close friends. The woman who maintains her presence of mind however escapes the situation which would have otherwise turned to be the worst.
“My ideas are based on the day-to-day affairs and common experiences. The first story’s theme was women safety. The movie ends in a very positive and hilarious way because I wanted to show in my movie that independence and freedom is no one’s gift to the other but a basic right. The girl who drives to her friends for a midnight party is capable of safeguarding herself from accidental traps. This is the way we all should practice our freedom and right of choices,” says Sreeraj.
Another movie titled ‘Engine out completely’ narrates the story of a young Richard David who tries to find out his late father’s Maruti-800 car which was sold years ago. The man posts about the car on FB and a woman cheats him saying that she had the car. She cooks up a story and makes Richard believe it. He buys the car at a huge price and later comes to know that he was being cheated. “Though the story may not seem to include a significant social message, it is a funny narrative of how our pet dreams and nostalgic affinities to objects are being exploited,” he said.
The latest short film, ‘Sudden Death’, was released in 2016 which was an attempt against food fascism. The movie was a protest against the Government’s beef ban decision and was produced as a reaction to man killing another in the name of food. “We all have the right to decide on what we eat and it is very much a fundamental right,” opines Sreeraj. The film was produced with just Rs. 60 which is the market rate of a plate of beef fry. The movie was launched by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and was widely used in the election campaigns.
Sreeraj does not want to be content with merely short films. “I have always been an ardent fan of movies and my ultimate aim is to make good commercial movies. My experiences and experiments with short films give me confidence to catch my dream,” quips Sreeraj. His wife Sarika and daughter Keerthana are active participants in his movie ventures.