Docu-maker strikes at Pinarayi core
KR Subhash

Docu-maker strikes at Pinarayi core

When the esteemed critic and thinker MN Vijayan parted ways with the PuKaSa, his resonant words echoed, “Even resignation is a political act.” In a similar vein, nationally-acclaimed documentary maker KR Subhash drove a political nail into Pinarayi Vijayan's legacy.

Ajayan

The documentary "Yuvathyodu Ariyanam Pinarayiye," an ambitious endeavour to brand Pinarayi as Kerala's 'saviour' just before the 2016 Assembly election, had garnered significant attention. However, documentary-maker KR Subhash felt compelled to remove the documentary from all social media platforms, stating, "The communist in Pinarayi is dead and gone. The documentary has lost its relevance."

The documentary, crafted for the AKG Patana Kendra under the leadership of Minister P Rajeev, was unveiled by the esteemed critic MK Sanoo at a grand event. It was viewed by nearly 8 million people until its recent removal.
Incidentally, Subhash's action comes at a time when Pinarayi is under severe criticism within the party for his autocratic ways, which are widely seen as a key factor in the CPM’s dismal showing in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

In a candid and expansive interview with Ajayan of Metro Vaartha, Subhash delves into the inception of his project, his collaboration with Pinarayi and the ultimate decision to withdraw the documentary. This move, though controversial and met with ire from certain factions within the party, has also garnered admiration for his audacious stance.

Excerpts from the interview.

Q

You’ve been a successful documentary maker and have even won national acclaim. How did you get into making this Pinarayi documentary?

A

The journey began just before the 2016 Assembly election, where Pinarayi triumphed and ascended to the role of Chief Minister. A prominent serial actor, closely associated with Pinarayi, approached me with the idea of creating a documentary to support the campaign. This proposal led to consultations with the AKG Patana Kendram, under the leadership of P Rajeev. Following these discussions, we moved forward with the documentary, with one Rebhilash stepping in as the producer.

Q

How went the production and were there political interferences?

A

The endeavor unfolded seamlessly, free from political meddling. There was a moment when Pinarayi hesitated to be depicted as a poor boy during his student days. Yet, I held firm, for the people I spoke with in his hometown—humble men and women—proudly recounted his rise from hardship. Their heartfelt stories painted a portrait of perseverance that I felt compelled to honour.

Q

Who were the people you contacted for the shoot and what had they to say?

A

I reached out to Pinarayi's compatriots in his village, and their words painted a vivid tapestry of his journey. They spoke with heartfelt admiration, recounting his relentless struggle to rise from humble beginnings to become their esteemed leader. These voices from the working class etched an inspiring portrait of Pinarayi's determination and resilience. They shared sincere and poignant anecdotes, illustrating how he earned their respect and trust through unwavering dedication and hard work, truly rising from the ranks to lead them.

Q

Could you discuss whether the documentary aimed to position Pinarayi as Chief Minister, given that VS Achuthanandan was the only other contender, despite his age?

A

Certainly! The documentary conveyed the message through heartfelt narratives of fisherfolk and workers that Pinarayi was not just a leader but the indispensable choice to steer an LDF Government, uniquely equipped to address the challenges faced by the working class.

Q

So, do you mean that the narrative was charted out in advance and that he would be the Chief Minister if the LDF won without any consultation with the LDF or any party forum?

A

Indeed, that's accurate. The campaign vividly portrayed Pinarayi as the sole leader capable of guiding the LDF. The rest is history.

Q

Did you maintain communication with Pinarayi after the completion of the documentary?

A

No, I haven't crossed paths with him in the past eight years. As a committed party worker, I've raised concerns and conveyed them through the party hierarchy to Pinarayi's office. There hasn't been any occasion that necessitated direct communication with him.

Q

The Lok Sabha election debacle has left Pinarayi the target for failure. Has the election result been behind your withdrawing the documentary? Also, what led you to conclude that Pinarayi is no longer a communist at heart?

A

The recent electoral setback has no bearing on my decision. As someone deeply invested in the party and its ethos, I've observed Pinarayi's evolution away from his communist roots, shifting his focus from the working class to favouring big business interests. After much contemplation, I recently made the difficult choice not to renew my party membership, a commitment I held since 1986. My journey began as a journalist and later transitioned to film and documentary-making after the closure of the Thrissur-based paper where I worked. The core communist principles I upheld were instilled by leaders like Pinarayi, who now steers the party in a different direction. The recent election results are coincidental to my decision. A small comparison will make things clearer. During VS's tenure as Chief Minister, when allegations surfaced against his son, he promptly requested a separate CBI inquiry and insisted on accountability if wrongdoing was proven. In contrast, when allegations, supported by evidence, emerged against Pinarayi and his daughter, he chose silence and left the party to defend him—a stark departure from communist ideals.

Q

How has the response been to your decision to withdraw the documentary?

A

Many individuals, including two closely linked to the documentary, have praised my stance. I've fielded calls from prominent figures within the party, inquiring into my decision, to whom I've offered clear explanations. Their sentiment was, "Even so, you shouldn't have taken this step." Despite this, I continue my commitment to communism and pursue my endeavours in documentary and film-making.

Q

In the past, you stood boldly against K. Karunakaran, leading the agitation to block him on the road and even faced imprisonment for this. Now, you've taken a similar stance against another CM. Could you share your perspective on this personal journey of resistance?

A

Yes, that agitation against Karunakaran was unexpected and marked the beginning of his downfall. I don't make any tall claims. As a documentary-maker, I've taken a step to steer the party towards correction. I hope these ripples create significant impact.