As Mammootty-starrer Kannur Squad is in theatres, let us talk about another Kannur squad that has no relation to the movie. They are the people behind Kannur Kafe, a sitcom that has gone viral.
Created by a group of artistes and technicians from Kannur, Kannur Kafe has been appreciated for its use of the Kannur dialect and the performance of the cast. “We are presenting a Kannur version of certain situations that can happen anywhere, like in an office, a house, a wedding, a shop etc.,” says Shijith Kalyadan, director of the episodes.
“We have been making short films for some time now. Films such as Udumbu and Irachikozhi were screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK). Of late, we thought of telling stories from Kannur. Although the Kannur dialect and incidents from Kannur are shown in many films, we felt there is more to the region. The dialect itself varies from one place to another in the district, be it Payyannur, Thaliparambu or Thalassery.”
From the tea shop
It is at an old-world tea shop at Pazhassi, a scenic village near Mattannoor in Kannur, that the team gets together to work on each episode. “We have taken instances or situations from our personal lives as subjects. The shooting is done in and around Pazhassi and Mattannoor,” says Shijith, who works as a designer in a private firm.
Shijith and Tarun Sudhakaran, the DOP of the sitcom, are the founders of Kannur Kafe. Other members of the team are project designer Vipin Athikka and actors Sasidharan Mattannoor, Ramakrishnan Pazhassi, Satheesh Vayalaparambu and Radhakrishnan Thalachangad. While Sasidharan is a former bank employee, Ramakrishnan is a school bus driver, Satheesh is a postman and Radhakrishnan constructs wedding pandals. “They have been doing theatre and some of them have acted in films as well. It is the passion for acting that brought them to Kannur Kafe,” Shijith says.
Kannur Kafe announced its arrival through Instagram Reels and Shorts.
“We were not prepared for this level of appreciation. Now we are getting calls from across the state. Also, the actors have become famous,” Shijith says. One of the actors, Sasidharan, better known as Chaplin Sasi, agrees. He talks about travelling to Chennai as a youngster to get into movies. Later, thanks to his physique and appearance, he started playing Charlie Chaplin in Chaplins India, a mimicry troupe that was formed back in the 90s. National Award-winning filmmaker Salim Ahammed was part of the troupe. “He has encouraged me a lot and I have acted in his films such as Kunjananthante Kada and Pathemari. I believe that there is a right time to get noticed and Kannur Kafe has made that possible. People recognise me now,” says 68-year-old Sasidharan.
He adds: “There has been a huge change in people’s preference for comedy. They don’t have the patience to watch long videos and that’s why we offer them laughs in small doses.”
Besides Shorts and Reels on Instagram, Kannur Kafe’s YouTube channel has videos of under two minutes duration. Currently, two shorts are released every week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Meanwhile, a feature film based in Kannur is next in line for the team.