Venu Nair, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker has come up with another documentary, ‘Number 40 Rain’ which has been chosen for the 8th Widlife Vaasa Festival in Finland. The 48-minute documentary dealing with climate change with a focus on Idukki, will play at the competition section of the festival, which will take place in September.
‘Number 40 Rain’ narrates how climate change in the state’s second largest district has impacted life not in the area alone but the entire state.
The film also has around 23 scientists, farmers, social activists and other officials sharing their opinions and experiences. Produced by the Environment and Climate Change Department, Kerala Government, the film will be screened as part of the festival, which will be held from September 28 to October 2.
Venu says that the title, which sounds out of place, actually has a lot of meaning hidden behind it. “In earlier days, people used to prefer clothes made from a particular thread with the size 40. Similarly in the 70’s, a particular type of rain dubbed the same used to pour along the area, highly suitable for cardamom cultivation and other agriculture. There was no need of fertilisers or anything else, which is not the case now. Problems like scarcity of rain and climate change is impacting not only the farmers but people all over the state.”
‘One of Seven’, an earlier film by Venu, was also screened at the same festival in 2012, while his last venture was a work on Operation Anantha.
Getting into filmmaking in the 1990s, a few of his noted works include ‘Mythology of Aranmula Metal Mirror’ for which he received the National Award from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in 2006-7. He has also received the 36th International Festival of Sustainable Development Films award for his documentary ‘Farming our Future’ at the Ekotopfilm 2009 in the Slovak Republic.
Venu Nair has been the recipient of 16 State, National and International awards so far for his creative work. His oeuvre includes numerous documentaries, tele-films, miniseries, commercials and short films which have been selected and screened in several prestigious film festivals across the world. ‘Farming Our Future’ was selected for International Food, Film and Video Diversity Festival 2011 at Trento, Italy.
‘Farming Our Future’ depicts the harms of chemical farming and the role of organic farming in the creation of a healthy world. With the effects of chemical farming versus organic farming being a hot topic the world over, his subject for the documentary bears great relevance to today’s world.
Venu Nair says, “The chemicals applied in agriculture have a deleterious effect on the human body and the quantity of these toxic substances in the food we consume is alarmingly large. The frantic efforts to step up food production to match the fast growing population have caused some serious consequences. My film gives the message about how effective organic farming is and highlights the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers.”
Venu Nair’s film ‘May I come In?’ was selected for the India International Disability Film Festival, Ability Fest 2011, at Chennai. The film portrays the physical and mental trauma of Maya and how she overcomes her disability and succeeds in life. Her unfailing determination and courage is a motivation for the disabled across the globe. Along with national and international recognition his work has also received the SBT Award, Kerala State Television Award, and the Kerala Film Critics Award.
Active in film and television media since 1990, Venu Nair has covered subjects like Environment, Culture & Heritage,
Anthropology, Health along with fiction and music.
‘Farming Our Future’ is not new to recognition. In 2009, the film received the Kerala State Television Award for the Best Director and Producer award for the Science and Environment documentary, instituted by the Kerala Chalachitra Academy. It also received the International Recycling Fund Award in 2009 from the Republic of Slovakia at the 36 th International Film Festival of Sustainable Development Films Ekotopfilm 2009.
Venu Nair who is a post-graduate from the Mahatma Gandhi University and also trained in film making at the Leeds Metropolitan University, UK traces his artistic career, “My first brush with direction was in school when I was 9. The story was taken from Balarama a children’s magazine and I coordinated the whole thing with absolutely no idea about direction. To my parents who were in the Government service studies were more important and they did not encourage such activities. But my friends and I rehearsed without their knowledge and went on to win the first prize for that drama.”
Venu continues, “Then I became a regular visitor with a drama troop near my house. In college too I was very involved with drama and this time, I was keen on acting. We selected socially relevant subjects for our dramas then.
The important works of Venu Nair includes Digging of Mercy, Farming Our Future, The Mythology of Aranmula Metal Mirror, Relics of Our Architecture, Nattaranginte Nerchakkazhchakal, Nilavinte Geetham and Sethuvinte Kathakal He says, “In India we have to create a separate platform for documentaries. . A documentary enlightens and focuses on reality and most of them have a message In the West there are theaters dedicated to the screening of documentaries
and they are greatly enjoyed. I spend 2-3 years in research and production for my films. For the production of ‘Food and Future,’ we traveled all over Kerala. We saw some Endosulfan victims and the whole team was shocked by their condition.”
Venu Nair is active in the telefilm and serial industry, but he is not very impressed with the current trend in the industry. He says, “I am not opposed to the mega serial concept. Thousands of people are surviving thanks to
it. But their quality leaves much to be desired. They shoot 12 episodes in three days and this affects the perfection of the work. Serials should discuss the pertinent issues of Kerala.”
Venu Nair’s wife Gurdeep Kaur who has several independent television programmes to her credit, actively supports him. His children Gauthami and Gayathri are known to television viewers through their programme ‘Veegaland Vasantha Geetangal’.
Currently he is busy with writing the script of the feature film Vazhi.