The screening of a Malayalam documentary on a tea shop owner’s novel protest against demonetisation, scheduled to happen at the Kerala Club in Delhi on Monday evening was cancelled over alleged threats from right wing activists.
Sanu Kummil’s documentary Oru Chaayakkadakkarante Mann ki Baat chronicles the life story of 75-year-old Yahiya, who shaved half his head in protest against demonetisation and burned the money he failed to exchange.
The screening of the documentary was organised by the Clone Cinema Alternative, in association with the Kerala Club, located in Connaught Circus. It was to be followed by a discussion on the current financial crisis, in which senior journalist and educationist Sukumar Muralidharan was scheduled to speak.
“Last night, I got a call from the venue coordinators saying that there could be issues with the screening of the film. This afternoon, they told me that they had got calls from local leaders associated with the Sangh Parivar, asking them to cancel the screening. So, we have cancelled it for now. I am now looking for alternate locations to screen the film in Delhi,” says Mr. Sanu over the phone from Delhi.
The documentary had won much appreciation in Kerala, and also fetched Sanu a Best Short Documentary award at the 11th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
The documentary is chronicle of Yahiya’s life, told engagingly, with caricatures of various moments from his life enlivening the narration.
The documentary begins from his early years of struggle in a family of 13 children to 18 years of working under abject conditions in Saudi Arabia and his later life as a tea seller in Kadakkal.
The demonetisation in November 2016 came as a big jolt to him. He queued up in front of the bank to exchange his savings, ₹23,000.
On the second day, his sugar level dropped and he collapsed. After he was discharged from the hospital, he burned all the demonetised cash.
The next trip was to the barber shop to shave half of his head, in protest. The act brought Yahiya to the national limelight.