Ayyappantamma neyyappam chuttu, kakka kothi kadalilittu –a familiar song that reverberated in many a child’s ears as their mothers cajoled them to have some food. A lot of nostalgic memories are associated with those lines. But wait! How many of us have stopped to ponder about the feelings of the mother who made the savory for the child, who in turn lost his neyyappam to the crows? Film choreographer and finger puppeteer Imthiyas Aboobaker pondered over this and from this thought emerged his debut music movie, titled Motherland. The nano music movie, as he likes to call it, does evoke curiosity and Imthiyas explains, “There is a story told through the song, which is the reason why it is called a nano music movie.”
The music movie took three days to be completed. It features a small child of mixed heritage and his mother, and traces their eternal love. It also explores the nostalgic longing for the son’s motherland, which is Kochi. The nano movie starts off with director/ actor Salam Bukhari getting a phone call from his mother, who asks him if he has reached safely to which he answers in the affirmative and asks if his father is fine. The movie then moves on to Salam observing some children at play in a park, and then strumming a guitar to the tunes of the ever popular nostalgic song. The children immediately gather around him to listen to the song. The video has been uploaded on YouTube to an encouraging response.
“Most of us are familiar with only the first four lines of this much loved rhyme, and so, I decided to take this forward and complete it,” he informs. It was four years back that Imthiyas heard a friend singing this rhyme and it struck him that there was something incomplete.
“The questions whirling in my mind were the mother’s emotions and the pain of the child who lost something he was longing for. So, I wrote a few more lines with help from my friend Priya G. to whom I explained the situation.”
The song has been sung by Rakesh Keshavan. It came out as desired, but there was something still incomplete – the visual interpretation of the lines. The next step was finding out a visual premise for the song. “I had thought of several scenarios and climaxes and planned to shoot it in foreign locations. Finally, I zeroed in on Fort Kochi for here was the perfect location for my story to unfold. I had initially planned to picturise the song featuring a foreigner,” Imthiyas says.
He held a lot of auditions, but the lip sync was off and so, he finally roped in his friend Salam Bukhari to act in the music video. There were hurdles too. The budget was `9 lakh and Imthiyas knew that much income would not be generated to make profit. “However, I did not want to compromise on the quality of my product. All the technicians as well as the costume designer were prominent people from the industry.”
Coming back to the foreigner woman and the child, Imthiyas had a hard time finding the perfect cast. Finally, German theatre artiste Mariam Ayla Julinenne Unger perfectly fit the bill as the mother. The next step for Imthiyas is obviously films and Motherland is just a stepping stone towards that dream....