Murali Nair, trained at the Xavier de Communication in Mumbai, became part of the Mumbai film industry as an assistant director. His first short-film Tragedy of an Indian Farmer won a National award in 1993. His first feature film Maranasimhasanam won him the prestigious Camera d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1999. His second film Pattiyude Divasam and the latest film Arimpara was also screened at the Cannes.
Murali Nair Lives in London and currently is producing television programs for British television.
Also read: Chaosmag interview with Murali Nair
Maranasimhasanam - 1999
Krishnan, a farmer works day-night for his landlord. Once, when climate became adverse, Krishnan reaches his landlord's house for requesting help. Krishnan, when finds his landlord in the thrill of lovemaking, decides not to disturb him. He plucks some coconuts from the landlord's land. Krishnan is caught red handed. Krishnan is paraded to the police station. There he is falsely held responsible for an unproven murder case. The Court sentences Krishnan for death penalty.
At that time the villagers come to know about the latest innovation in America, a Death Thrown, an instrument America discovered for making execution easy and painless. They get the idea of testing the death thrown in their land by executing Krishnan, and demand the Government to import the death thrown. Finally Government decides to conduct the first execution on the death thrown by killing Krishnan. Krishnan becomes the first man in this land to be executed using the wonder invention by America.
The villagers conduct a meeting to felicitate Krishnan's widow, Chirutha. She believes to be lucky to be the wife of a man who could die on a death thrown. Union Minister's declaration that 'death thrown would be placed in all the districts by World Bank aid' makes the people happy.
Maranasimhasanam won Murali Nair the 'Camera D'or' at the Cannes International Film Festival, 1999.
Direction: Murali Nair
Pattiyude Divasam - 2001
Once in a colourful rural province, the ruling Lord granted democracy to his faithful citizens. They celebrated with joyous song. As a token of his good will, the Lord gave the royal dog Apu to his former obedient servant, Koran. Koran and his wife proudly cared for the small dog, admired by all in the village. One day Apu bit a duck, then later a boy. Rumour spread that the Lord knowingly sent Apu amongst the people because the dog had rabies. The peaceful democratic atmosphere of the village was disrupted. The new leader and the disheartened villagers turned against the Lord they once loved and respected. The province was divided, its future uncertain.
Pattiyude Divasam made its entry to the Cannes Film Festival.
Direction: Murali Nair
Arimpara - 2003
Arimpara is the cinematic adoption of renowned Malayalam writer O V Vijayan's short story of the same name.
The protagonist is a man living in rural Kerala. One day a wart starts developing on his chin. Initially everybody including his wife finds it attractive. Slowly it starts growing bigger and uglier. People starts moving away from him feeling that this may be a contagious decease. But, he refuses to get the wart removed surgically.
One day, he tries to cut it off and falls unconscious. When he regains consciousness, he finds that his family has left him. Finally, the wart starts moving and talking to him. He becomes the slave of the wart.
Arimpara was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
Direction: Murali Nair
The first in a trilogy, 'Life is All About Friends' tells the story of Unni, a young boy from a village in Kerala, and his friends Gopi, Ramu and Raju as they get together at the start of a new school year.
Unni comes from an upper-caste, Nair family. His mother and grandmother, with whom he lives, enforce the strict, orthodox rules Nair's are expected to follow. It's a privileged world, but one that leaves Unni frustrated. Fortunately for him, life outside home is very different.
Led by troublemaker Gopi, Unni gets up to all kinds of mischief at school. Along with Ramu and Raju he is involved in a series of incidents - whether its putting itching powder on his teachers desk, peeping into the girls' toilet to discover why girls squat to pee, or trying to deliver a love letter to the new girl, Sujatha - which teach him about friendship, sorrow, love, and life. Inevitably the boys get into trouble, and though they briefly fall out, they are quick to realise that their friendship is what counts most and that they must stick together. This isn't easy for Unni however, who's mother and teachers strongly disapprove of the influence that lower-caste Gopi seems to have on him.
Like many boys growing up in Kerala, Unni's father works in the Middle East and so he grows up without a male role model to emulate, or to discipline him. When his mother announces therefore that his father will be coming back to visit them, Unni is nervous. An awkward first meeting soon gives way to happiness as Unni plays with the presents his father has brought him. While he is proud to show off his new gifts to his friends, Unni can't help but feel upset for Gopi, who's father is an unemployed, wife-beating drunk.
Direction & Screenplay: Murali Nair