Kerala's award winning film has local links

Kerala's award winning film has local links

When “Travancore: A saga of benevolence,” was chosen as the best documentary cinema of 2011 by the Kerala State film award, there was something special for the people of coastal districts, as the documentary featured two wellknown personalities from the coastal districts - Dr B R Shetty the MD & CEO of NMC Group of Companies in Dubai (who hails from Udupi) and Y Sudhir Shetty, the COO (Global Operations) of UAE Exchange (who hails from Kasargod), in the lead roles along with the ancestors of the Royal House of Travancore.

While Dr B R Shetty enacts Dharmaraja, the King of Travancore from 1758 to 1790 in this historical docu-cinema, Sudhir Kumar Shetty figures as Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the King of Travancore from 1729 to 1758.

“It was a mere coincidence that I became a part of the venture and I am very happy to learn that it was selected as the best docu-cinema of the year. It was quite a deserving one for Photojournalist B Jayachandran (director and producer) and his team, in terms of the research and efforts they had put in,” Shetty said and added that it was a blessing and honour for him as the present King chose him to play the role of his ancestor in the historical docu-cinema.

Sudhir Kumar Shetty said that he was approached by one of his friends, who also happen to be the friend of the Royal Family during one of his visits to Shabarimala in 2007. Stating that it was a great honour to play the role of first king of Travancore (1729-1758), he said the 4.5 hour documentary has been reduced to 98 minute docu-cinema under the supervision of renowned film maker Shaji N Karun. Plans are on anvil to screen the docu-cinema to the audience of West Asia soon after Ramadan feast, he added.

The docu-cinema was penned by Madambu Kunjukuttan, based on the famous Mathilakam records, which tells the story of the entire Royal House of Travancore.

Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the current titular Maharaja of Travancore has given the film an appropriate introduction. Other members of the royal family including Pooyam Thirunal Gowri Parvathy Bhai, Ashwathy Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bhai, Ashwathy Thirunal Rama Varma and Avittom Thirunal Aadithya Varma have also portrayed roles of their ancestors in the film.

Popular playback singers of South India K S Chithra and G Venugopal have rendered their voice for the composition made by music director Kavalam Sreekumar.

While the narration is voiced by Asian College of Journalism Chairperson Sashi Kumar in English, the Malayalam version has been contributed by University College (Kerala) Malayalam Department Head Prof Aliyar.

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