The film offers a poignant take on “compassion which is slowly vanishing from society”.
“We humans are losing our ability to empathise, to show kindness and care” Jayaraj.
“People like Narayanan perceive the nature and the world around them much better than us”: Director Jayaraj, on the visually challenged protagonist.
The selfless care and wholesome concern a young boy shows toward a visually challenged old man who has lost his way and most of his memory. Film lovers will get the heart-warming opportunity to get drenched in the unalloyed beauty of this pristine love, thanks to Tree Full of Parrots, a Malayalam film by the renowned maverick director Jayaraj.
The ability to manifest the extraordinary beauty hiding deceptively in the ordinary everyday aspects of human existence has always been Jayaraj’s forte and signature.
Tree Full of Parrots is a poignant take on feelings like compassion, which is slowly vanishing from our society. It is a moving journey through the various human expressions of love, hope, despair, consideration and care.
So, how did this heartrending journey begin? Eight-year-old Poonjan sees a lost blind man sitting alone at a boat jetty. Jayaraj explains: “The boy sees this old man sitting in a boat jetty, having lost his way back home. Besides his name, all the old demented man can remember is a certain tree full of parrots in front of his house. No one cared to help him, not even the police.”
But Poonjan decides to help and tries to find the way to the blind man’s home, asking directions to acquaintances and strangers en route. Jayaraj told : “We humans are losing our ability to empathise, to show kindness and care. Here, the boy shows compassion to the old man whom no one was ready to help. Through this 8-year-old boy and the special relationship he shared with the visually challenged old man, we are showing a feel of compassion.”
Giving a character-sketch of the boy, the director said: “The boy, who himself bears the burden of his entire family’s survival, decides to help this old man. The boy carries the responsibility of his entire family on his shoulders. He does odd jobs to take care of them and even skips school while doing so. He is the kind of kid, who is determined to protect his family with all his might.”
The unorthodox filmmaker, who holds a rich history of working with non-actors, shared the unique experience of working with Master Adithyan who plays the role of Poonjan and Narayanan Cherupuzha, who plays the old man. “I never controlled or guided them. Just gave the dialogue and they had their own way.”
Jayaraj shared with film lovers how working with Cherupuzha gifted him a brighter inner eye. “Narayanan is a visually challenged person. He is a teacher who has won the President’s Medal for Best Teacher. He runs a school for the visually challenged, in Kannur, Kerala. Through the course of making the film, I realised that he is able to see things which are not visible to us despite being endowed with vision. He has enlightened me and brightened my vision more.”
The director shared an anecdote to illustrate how Cherupuzha led him to this realization. “People like Narayanan perceive the nature and the world around them much better than us. One day while shooting, Narayan told me he wanted to touch a lotus leaf. That surreal moment made me realise the value people like him find in things which hold no value for us.” That was an enlightening moment for him, it was a unique revelation which changed many of his perceptions and perspectives, says Jayaraj.