Body Deep / Udalazham
Director : Unnikrishnan Avala / 106 mins / Malayalam, Paniya language / 2018
Aboriginal tribal people around the world had been exploited and abused extensively for a very long time. Most have been wiped out from the face of the earth or are nearing extinction. Hailed as for modern day civilization, their birthplaces are encroached, hills are demolished, jungles sawed and burnt, girls and children are raped, and their men and youngsters are poisoned with alcohol and weed. Trapped and pushed to the wall, they perish without leaving a trace.
Gulikan, born and brought up as a boy in a tribal settlement, has the body and the soul of a girl. He was married in childhood to Maathi. Dark skinned, fragile, introvert and vulnerable, he struggles to balance his life working as a coolie in the city. Change of jobs or odd friendships do not help him. Displaced by drought, poverty and addiction, and humiliated and abused in a racist society, his tribe is on the constant run for survival. Social stigma about AIDS culminates in the torching of his house, following which Maathi disappears. Burdened with memories and without a forest to go back to, Gulikan is unable to thrive in the hostile city. Udalaazham, the story of a tribal transgender, discusses how color of the skin, not the depth of one’s heart, is an approved identity in a ruthless and cold blooded society.
30 actors, including the protagonist, are indigenous tribal people from Wayanad and Nilambur forests, belonging to Paniya and Aranadan variant of Cholanaykar communities. The film is made in Paniya and Malayalam languages.
Unnikrishnan Avala – Director/Scriptwriter
Producers – Dr Manoj KT, Dr Rajesh Kumar M P, Dr Sajish M
Mohammed A – Cinematographer
Appu N Bhattathiri – Editor
Sithara Krishnakumar – Music
Mithun Jayaraj – Music
Bijibal Maniyil – Composer
Renganath Ravee – Sound Designer
Mani PR – Gulikan
Remya Valsala – Maathi
Abu Valayamkulam – Fish Merchant
Rajiv Vellur – Deputy Ranger
Sajitha Madathil – Vagabound
Indrans – Moorthy
Joy Mathew – Rameshan
Anumol – Dancer
Vettilakkolli Mathi – Maathiyamma
Nilambur Ayisha – Housemaid