Subramanya Bharathi’s famous poem Chinnanchiru Kiliye has raised a myriad of interpretations over decades. Whether it’s a love poem written for his beloved or a lullaby for a child, or a devotional verse for Lord Krishna is still a debate. But when actor Navya Nair thought of a music video featuring Bharatanatyam to spread a message, she didn’t have much to think before choosing the Bharatiyar kriti.
When Navya’s Chinnanchiru Kiliye, her directorial debut, hit YouTube, the instinctive response from the viewers was a big ‘wow’. Dressed in gold-black-bordered green silk costume, Navya, through her beautiful moves, coupled with touching visuals of a mother and child, sheds light on a much relevant issue – child trafficking. Transporting one through various emotions, the video leaves the viewer spell-bound such is the impact. In less than a week, the dance video has garnered nearly seven lakh hits.
“Everything is so surreal,” says Navya, who is glad that the Kerala Government is using her work for the promotion of the Saranabalyam project meant for rehabilitation of street children. “I never expected such a gesture. I wasn’t even sure that people would like the video. I was very anxious about the effectiveness of conveying the emotions I intended. Throughout the screening, I kept on explaining each moment to the minister seated beside,” she chuckles.
The idea of a dance video has always been there on her mind, but Navya wanted it to be not just an art form, but a message, too.
“As a socially conscious person, I have my views on matters like gender inequality and progressive movements. But being a mother, children’s issues have affected me a lot. The thought of staying as a helpless person when children are attacked, abused and killed worldwide pains me a lot,” she explains how she made the choice and went to Manu master who choreographed the dance. The shooting happened at Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy.
“News about children being attacked, abused and kidnapped drains me emotionally,” says Navya, adding, “I believe that more than gender equality or menstruation taboo, focus needs to be on child rights and welfare. None of the others is a problem of sustainability.”
She adds that she doesn’t intend to demean any movement. “I am always for change. But I believe in slow and inevitable change and not a forced one, all of a sudden. Art and literature have a crucial role in bringing about that change,” opines Navya, who believes in destiny. “Whatever is meant for you comes to you. That was true in my case. I have been immensely lucky to be enjoying so much love from people. And yes, I have been called arrogant at times, but that was because I was never pretentious.”
Marriage had brought a break to her active film decade, but Navya made a comeback in 2012 and has been very selective since with more focus on dance than the acting career. But she has been observing the issues raised by her contemporaries about gender issues, pay disparity and casting couch in Malayalam industry. “Workplace harassment and gender discrimination exist in all spheres, not just films. I have been lucky enough not to face it, but I don’t deny its existence. I’m very impressed by the MeToo wave sweeping across various film industries. It takes a great deal of courage for survivors to come forward and speak up. I salute them,” says Navya, adding, “What the world needs is people with integrity, people with genuine thoughts and intentions.”
The actor also reveals that she’d be back to screen. “I’m listening to scripts and will zero in on one without delay. Right now, I’m investing my creativity in organising my son Sai Krishna’s eighth birthday party. There’s so much to do,” she winds up....