Sex, religion and livelihood interweave in KR Manoj’s first flick, Kanyaka Talkies. The documentary film maker paints with his imagination and tells us the story of how spirituality is hunted down after a C-grade theatre is converted into a church. The priest starts hallucinating that he can hear sounds with sexual overtones in the church.
In an era of transformation, what Manoj seems to have done, is to look inwards. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he does not look outwards into the world of technology and its magic, but inside, into what is happening to the cinema and things we were accustomed to.
Screened under the Malayalam Today section, at the 18th International Film Festival of Kerala, the film indeed shows a good place for Malayalam cinema to be in.
Each characters end up being the victim of a transformation that is hardly tangible. How Ancy, played by Lena ends up in a “bit” or rather a sex clip, shows this. All Ancy wanted to do was to act in films. She has no other way, but to leave her village after the news reaches them. Kanyaka Talkies is also a film exploring the self’s guilt.
Theatre owner Yakub donates his cinema house to the church, after his wife who believed that he was sinning by showing C-grade movies in his talkies, commits suicide.
The film shows the perspectives of a small abandoned tea estate and the people living there. Murali Gopy as Father Michael awes us. Kanyaka Talkies portrays how our notions of sinning, and chastity drive us into losing ourselves.
The film has concentrated more on its sound effects, handled by Luxembourg-based sound designer Rajeevan Ayyappan.
In fact, the film goes hand in hand with the real scenes of the film, and the hallucinations that underline them.
Kanyaka Talkies, is deep. The realities it seeks to convey, are profound.