Legend of Karinthandan on big screen

The legend of Karinthandan will be brought to the big screen by 30-year-old Leela Santhosh, who belongs to the Paniyas, one of the most backwards tribal communities of Wayanad. The two-hour film unravels the myth surrounding tribal chieftain Karinthandan.

Actor Geethu Mohandas released the first-look poster of the film, which stars State award-winner Vinayakan, recently.

Leela of Nadavayal does not have any formal education but has to her credit directing a documentary film.

She will direct the film, which will be marketed by the production group Phase One Collective led by director Rajeev Ravi.

Karinthandan was believed to be the chieftain of the Chippilithod Paniya hamlet in the foothills of the Thamarassery ghats. Legend has it that Karinthandan was murdered by a British engineer after he helped the latter find the shortest route between Kozhikode and Wayanad through the difficult Thamarassery Ghat.

“The popular belief is that it was the ghost of Karinthandan that caused the accidents on the route between 1890 and 1900. A sorcerer intervened and the ghost roaming around the ghat road was overpowered and tied to a tree at Lakkidi. The tree with an iron chain can be seen at Lakkidi,” said Leela.

“The scripting works of the film are over and pre-production has just been launched. Our plan is to bring out the film by December. One of the directors of Phase One Collective Madhu Neelakandan helm the camera. Vinayakan will do the role of Karinthandan,” said Leela.

Period film

“As a period film, we have to recreate Wayanad that existed between 1750 and 1799,” she said.

“I had to brave many odds to find a place in this industry, where women directors are rare, and technicians with tribal or Dalit backgrounds are almost non-existent,” she said.

Her documentary
Nizhalukal Nashtappedunna Gothrabhumi
eight years ago threw light on the life and rituals of the Paniya community, which mostly comprises landless agricultural labourers.

“Films were my fascination since childhood. I gained hands-on experience in filmmaking during my days at an alternative school run by activist K.J. Baby,” she said.

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