Self educated filmmaker with more than a decade of experience in participatory, collaborative and intercultural filmmaking in a community based context.
One of the recipients of 2016 next generation bursary, 2015 Artist in the community scheme awards and 2020 Arts participation Bursary from Arts council Ireland.
Films screened in international film festivals including Uruguay international short film festival and winner of best film and best director award at Fokana film festival, Illinois, USA.
Wrote, directed and did post production for 8 short films and one feature length tele-film collaborating with groups, families and individuals in Ireland.
I have lived in Ireland since 2006 and arrived with a background informed by Indian Keralite culture where I had been immersed in a tradition of Kerala filmmaking. Over the last ten years I have produced and directed seven short self-funded films and in later films with support from the Arts Council. Following the tradition of diasporic or ethnic cinema by filmmakers in Europe  in themes and subject matter and utilizing participatory practices of community filmmaking, while collaborating creatively in a similar way to socially engaged art practice methods. I will argue that I have developed a unique practice, possibly as the only culturally diverse socially engaged filmmaker in Ireland, focused on reflecting experiences of migration, displacement, and diasporic dwelling by way of exploring identity, belonging and intergenerational relationality among migrants from a Keralite, Indian origin.
I work collaboratively with communities and families reflecting the constant need for an immigrant to redefine her/his identity, by ‘seeing many sides of every question without abandoning conviction, and allowing for a chameleon sense of self without losing one’s cultural center’ (Slimbach, 2012: 211). Befitting this shifting sense of self, my practice borrows from and identifies with many filmmaking practices from art house to community filmmaking; including Third, Intercultural, Amateur, Ethno, Accented, Slow and Metamodern cinema, with influences from practices of Docufiction, One-person filmmaking, and Radical film culture.
Central to my practice is an urge to narrate the lives of Indian Keralite migrants living in Ireland and explore the vulnerability and transition of a group of people (the community of which I am part of) in coming to terms with a new culture. My filmmaking methods connect directly with the lives of family, friends and neighbours in a spirit of participation and collaboration to enable zero budget productions which challenge hegemonic commercial film productions and encourage agency in people who are struggling to maintain their own belief systems whilst accepting the inevitability of transitioning into a hybrid acculturalised version of their former selves.
The films can be framed within amateur (Shand, 2009), diasporic cinema (Naficy, 2001) with ethnographic content delineating the politics of transculturism (MacDougall, 1998) and hybridity (Bhaba, 1994). From an ‘ethnographic cinema’ (Marks, 2000) perspective, though fictionalized, all the films depict the day to day lives of members of the community, giving the films a scope for being cultural texts.
Collaborative community filmmaking is political activism of the artist’s variant. My method essentially, focuses on the filmmaker curating his own response to the experiences with the people he interact with in the collaboration process. Typically the filmmaker identifies interesting personalities first and then investigates their life and environment. This contextualized personalities become the content creators of the project. It is an information system – consisting of the people involved in the project and their lives- the filmmaker imbibes fully and allows himself to be influenced by when devising the form
Statement of my practice
Following the tradition of ethnic filmmakers in Europe in themes and subject matter and utilising participatory practises of community filmmaking, while collaborating creatively in a similar way to socially engaged art practice methods, I have developed a unique practice. Situated at the intersection of collaborative, participatory and amateur production modes, my films are focused on reflecting experiences of migration, displacement and diasporic dwelling by way of exploring identity, belonging and intergenerational relationality among migrants living in Ireland, especially of Keralite, Indian origin.
Framed as migrant cinema my films are texts delivering cultural resistance and tools for religious, political and cultural emancipation or empowerment. As an aesthetic response to the experience of displacement, resulting in ‘liminal subjectivity and interstitial location in society and the film industry’ migrant cinema/accented cinema subverts a singular homogenous national media narrative where migrant constituencies are not incorporated into Irish national self-image yet, and transcultural space not proportionately represented in the media landscape.
The key concerns that underpin my practice and thematic are the complex nature of immigrant identity, the variables that mediate its formation and its trajectory of transitioning.Portrayal or questioning of identity in every project is influenced by my own transient, personal identifications with particular aesthetics and political positions I developed, in response to my exposure to niche filmmakers, authors and art practises I encountered in my research and development as a filmmaker. Partly influenced by my own values and identity, the film text becomes performative and reflexive..
My practice borrows from and identifies with many filmmaking practises and movements from art house to community filmmaking including Third cinema, Intercultural, Ethno, Dogma 95, Imperfect cinema and Docufiction.
I grew up on the films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a world renowned Keralite filmmaker of the Indian new wave stream. My major influences always come down to three European filmmakers viz. Bela Tarr, Pedro Costa and Roy Andersson and lately Lois Patino. I admire Bela Tarr for the humanistic themes and slow, contemplative style; Pedro Costa for the docufiction perspective and intimate production strategy; Roy Andersson for the surreal imagery and deadpan tone and Lois Patino for drawing on many of the qualities listed above. I have also been influenced by the acting/non acting employed by Robert Bresson and other Bresson influenced filmmakers like Aki Kaurismaki.
My ambition is to make more films catering to a niche audience interested in the transcultural space.World growing increasingly superdiverse I believe there are several stories happening in the liminal space between cultures, communities and other categories of difference which need to be told.