Leela Santhosh: Kerala’s first Adivasi filmmaker who wants to tell the real stories of Adivasi struggles

Kerala is often presented as one of the most equitable states in the nation; a state where (at least relatively) your religion/caste does not matter as much as it does in other states. And while this may be true to some extent, there is no doubt that the marginalised communities in the state, especially Dalits and Adivasis, face the same issues as the rest of the country. And Leela Santhosh, a 29-year-old filmmaker and the only Adivasi to be doing so in Kerala, is trying to address the same with her works, starting with ensuring that the state’s numerous Adivasi communities are able to tell their own stories without the interference of non-Adivasis.

The journey of Leela, who is now making her second film, is extremely interesting. These days, it is imperative that you attend a film school if you wish to make a career in cinemas (especially if you wish to get into direction/editing). However, let alone a film school, Leela did not attend even a regular school. But that did not stop her from making her first documentary in 2010 called ‘Nizhalukal Nashtappedunna Gothrabhumi’ (the tribal land that has lost its shadows). Leela’s documentary threw light on the life and rituals of Paniya community from Wayanad. The film was exhibited in some festivals and Leela is now looking to exhibit it widely after adding subtitles.

Articles Courtesy : Shafeeq Hudawi, TwoCircles.net

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