Lives of handloom weavers always represented the gloomy side of pain and penury. But on the flipside, its rich tapestry and process of weaving established a cultural foundation in Telangana. Apart from real incidents from the community, a mixture of love, devotion and sacrifice piqued the curiosity of young director Vijay Kumar Badugu who decided to make a feature film Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya on his clan.
“Way back in 2001, just after K Chandrashekar Rao floated TRS party, he visited our village Bhoodan Pochampally, popularly known as Silk City of India. Knowing the plight of weavers, I saw him helping families and providing financial assistance. I was hardly a nine-year-old schoolboy. As technology took over the production of fabrics, the livelihood, and the shift that people gradually had to accept, all these life experiences shaped my story,” says Vijay who directed several short films and documentaries on education and social awareness programmes in the past nine years.
In 2011, Vijay made a documentary on Bhoodan movement and how people had benefitted from it. A documentary on Bhongir Fort, a short film named Repatikosam on spurious liquor in 2015, awareness film Amma Odi- Ade Mana Sarkaru Badi along with dozen other projects earned Vijay laurels in State-level film circuits. For his maiden Telugu periodical film Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya, Thadaka Ramesh from weaving community came forward to produce it. Soon, Vijay quit his job as a corporate officer to focus full-time on his project.
The narrative is told through the voice of Mallesham, the principal character played by actor Priyadarshi in the biographical movie. “It is apt for Mallesham to tell the story of his friends in the film. We have brought in commercial elements adding a love track between the lead couple. Although the story is based on real weavers, 20 percent of it is fictional. Screenwriter Peddinti Ashok Kumar who penned the dialogues connected me with weavers spread across Telangana, during my research,” says Vijay, an alumni of Osmania University.
Rather telling the story from a biographical perspective, Vijay’s film showcases designs and Ikkat patterns and other innovations of weavers. Not just suicides and migration, there is a bigger picture of culturally-rich weaving community to portray in film. “There was a time when people wouldn’t give their daughters to a weaver family. Typically, families involved in skill-based activity should have good vision to spin yarn or threads with fine tools. Aspects like visual impairment, blindness and how it limits a worker’s productivity are shown,” he says.