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by K R Manoj

November 12, 2016

'Kesari' tries to map the life and work of Kesari Balakrishna Pillai (1889 -1960), who has contributed significantly in shaping Modern Kerala. The work contextualizes the intellectual life of Kesari Balakrishna Pillai and critically engages with his radical interventions which are placed itself against both colonialism and narrow renditions of nationalism. The documentary follows the temporal and spatial axis provided by Kesari’s large corpus of writing and foregrounds its potential to displace modern linear time. 'Kesari' provides a panoramic view of the thought constellation of this unconventional thinker where his seemingly disconnected domains of intellectual activity in Political Philosophy, Art History, Literature, History and Geography fall in place and contribute to the project of human emancipation.

Director’s Note

Who is treated as an intellectual or as a thinker? It is a very crucial question. In the present academic and research context, there is a belief that thought is something that follows strict methodologies and enumerable steps of validation. In this film, 'Kesari', my attempt is to provide a panoramic view of the thought constellation of an unconventional thinker, Kesari Balakrishna Pillai (1889 -1960), who defied many preconceived notions around critical thinking. I think it is important to engage with Kesari's complex world of ideas where spatial location and locations of thinking appear in an intertwined way. As a contemporary Indian film maker, who witnesses emerging cultural nationalism in India, this work equips me to address some deeply disturbing questions entrenched in the nation-state framework. 

Script, Direction
K R Manoj

K Mohan Kumar, DD (P), C DIT

Shehnad Jalal, Jomon Thomas

Editing, Graphics
Ajay Kuyiloor

Location Sound
Sreejith Sreenivasan,

Anuraj Ammunni,


Sound Design
Arun Rama Varma

Sound Mixing
N Harikumar

Media Designs
B Priyaranjanlal

Tropical Cinema

Post Production (Video)
Tropical Cinema,

C DIT, Thiruvananthapuram

Post Production
Aries Vismaya Max, Thiruvananthapuram
Lal Media, Kochi

Format -Video
High Definition (1920 x 1080), 25 fps

Stereo L R