Kammatipaadam can be read in myriad ways — a revenge story or a chronicle of the crumbling relationships between friends embroiled in the world of crime. But it is also a story that tracks the evolution of urbanisation in Kochi and is an ode to those rendered homeless in the march towards development.
Popular Malayalam actor Dulquer Salmaan, essays the lead role of Krishnan in this film, a man who returns to his village to drive through a maze of new compound buildings, and not the wide open fields that once existed. The critically-acclaimed, award-winning Malayalam movie, directed by Rajeev Ravi, will be screened at the fourth edition of the Urban Lens Film Festival in Delhi along with other fiction, non-fiction and animation films that tell stories of cities, framing them beyond skylines and teasing out stories and experiences of people from around the globe.
Organised by Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), a Bengaluru-based institute committed to study the transformation of Indian settlements, the festival engages with the cities of the Global South and explores cinematic narratives emerging from countries like India, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, among others. “The films are an insight into the issues of urban settlements and look at cities in different ways and how filmmakers are engaging with them,” says Subasri Krishnan, who is looking after the programming and production of the festival, and adds that in a departure from previous editions, they will screen fiction. In the past, they screened only invited documentaries.
The festival, which also took place in Bengaluru last month, received more than 1600 entries from 102 countries. The 28 films being screened this year include Girish Kasaravalli’s Ek Ghar (1991) starring Naseeruddin Shah and Deepti Naval which is about a couple’s struggle for housing in a crowded city, German filmmaker Markus Lenz’s Ruina (pictured) about the resilience of people in making homes in an abandoned building in Caracas, a grandson’s search for truth about his grandfather in Buenos Aires in 70 y Pico, and experience of loneliness in a city in the Brazilian film Solito, among others. Many screenings will be followed by discussions with the directors. “There will be conversations with editors who will speak about their craft, and how it has shaped the work they have produced,” says Krishnan.