Probably, there won’t be many Telugu readers and literature enthusiasts who haven’t heard of or read Mohammed Khadeer Babu’s stories. The writer-journalist’s works are usually autobiographical in nature and have been brought out in anthologies. Now, four of his stories will be streamed on the OTT platform Aha which focuses on Telugu content.
“I am very happy that most of the digital mediums are eyeing good old stories from Telugu literature. Thanks to the lockdown, they started to consider our literature,” says Khadeer Babu, whose stories Selfie, Proposal, Tegalufrom Metro Kathalu (written in 2013) and Ghatana from Beyond coffee (2017) are picked by the platform.
Hyderabad, which has been his home for two decades, has served as the backdrop for a number of stories he wrote with the aim of understanding the life of women in the city. These stories have been published as two anthologies, Beyond Coffee and Metro Kathalu.
The stories were finalised in just one sitting by Allu Aravind who owns the platform, along with content advisor Chandra Siddharth and director Nandini Reddy. “This project was proposed by Palasa director Karuna Kumar who will be directing the anthology Metro Stories and each story will have a duration of 20 minutes. This is a big leap in OTT platform as Telugu language has a lot of good content where 1,000 episodes can be made easily. The trend has started and it should continue,” says Khadeer Babu, whose stories have been the topics of research for PhD and MPhil scholars.
Stories like Malgudi Days and Amaravathi Kathalu remain fresh till date and such stories will be seen again and again and everybody will connect with them. We have to welcome this major turn, he adds.
Born in Kavali, a coastal town in Andhra Pradesh, the ‘Katha’ awardee comes from a large Urdu-speaking Muslim family. Khadeer Babu was the first in the family to attend college, and graduated in BSc in Computer Science. He wrote his first story Pushpaguccham (Bouquet) in 1995 and has since written more than 150 stories.
Khadeer Babu’s stories have universal appeal, stir the inner soul and make readers reflect on their life. He believes that literature has some really good stories which can be made into films. “I can definitely see a good future, where some literary stories will be seen by the younger generation even if they’re not literary buffs,” says the ‘Mysore Bhasha Bharati Samman’ awardee.
Besides writing short stories, for the last 20 years he has also been working towards the development of the short story as a literary form. He conducts a ‘Writer’s Meet’ every year to encourage new and aspiring writers. To introduce classic stories to the current generation, he has retold 150 stories which have been published as Noorella Telugu Katha (Hundred years of Telugu story) and Stree Kathalu 50. His insights into the art and craft of story-writing, published as Kathalu Ilaa Kooda Rastaru (Stories are also written like this) is yet another of his special contributions.
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