Documenting lives of those who document history

Kerala Media Academy’s documentaries of prominent media personalities are directed by leading filmmakers

KOZHIKODE

Journalists record history every day. The Kerala Media Academy believes it is time the lives and contributions of the most prominent journalists too are recorded.

The academy has entrusted the task to some of the leading filmmakers such as Priyadarshan, Santosh Sivan, Sibi Malayil, V.K. Prakash, Dr. Biju and Anjali Menon. The journalists featured include T.J.S. George, Sashi Kumar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, K.M. Roy, B.R.P. Bhaskar, Yesudasan and Udaya Tara Nayar.

“Four of the documentaries are ready for screening, while the others are at various stages of production,” Kerala Media Academy chairman R.S. Babu told The Hindu. “The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the making of some documentaries.”

He said the academy would document 12 journalists in the series. “We wanted to include personalities from different areas in the media,” he said. “So we chose people like Yesudasan and Sivan from cartoonists and among photo-journalists respectively. Not many know that Sivan had clicked news pictures of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.”

The film on Sivan is directed by his son Santosh Sivan, one of India’s finest cinematographers. “That film has come out beautifully,” said Babu. “The academy assigned only proven filmmakers because we wanted quality films.”

The documentaries will be screened on television channels and at film festivals. “We are also planning to stream them through over-the-top (OTT) platforms,” Babu said. “These documentaries will help people know more about our veteran journalists who contributed greatly to society but are rarely acknowledged. Everyone knows that M.T. is a fabulous writer of fiction, but how many are aware of the great work he did as editor of the Mathrubhumi weekly?”

Priyadarshan is directing the film on M.T. But its shooting is among those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pradeep Nair, a national-award winning director, was able to complete the shoot of his documentary on Roy, though. “I think it is a great initiative by the Kerala Media Academy,” said Pradeep. “When I was doing the research on Roy, I realised how big his contribution has been to Kerala society. It is indeed time that journalists like him are recognised.”

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