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‘Oridathoridath’:  Redefining Story-Telling

Thiruvananthapuram: ‘Once upon a time, there lived a king and he had a beautiful daughter…’ Such phrases would be the window that opens a big world of stories for any kid, especially of the nineties and earlier. But Manoj Kumar G S, Director, Twist Digital Media at KINFRA Film and Video Park, feels story-telling is

Thiruvananthapuram: ‘Once upon a time, there lived a king and he had a beautiful daughter…’ Such phrases would be the window that opens a big world of stories for any kid, especially of the nineties and earlier. But Manoj Kumar G S, Director, Twist Digital Media at KINFRA Film and Video Park, feels story-telling is fast fading away either due to lack of story-tellers or listeners. To fill this vacuum, Manoj, along with his team at Twist, launched a story-telling YouTube channel, ‘Oridathoridath’ (meaning ‘once upon a time’), that narrates 20-minute stories.

“Kerala is a treasure trove of short stories, but a large majority of youth is unaware of it. Many of them have not read the classics by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer or M T Vasudevan Nair. I figured out that YouTube could be the best medium to find a larger audience for my short stories,” says Manoj.

A story-theatre model and first-of-its kind YouTube channel from Kerala, ‘Oridathoridath’ has brought back many writers who gave up story-writing for their own personal reasons. Manoj notes that around 40 per cent of writers who contribute to ‘Oridathoridath’ are from outside Kerala, including places like Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Australia, Canada, UAE and USA.

Writers from Thiruvananthapuram, both established and newbies, come to ‘Aarabhi’ studio at Jagathy and record their story, which will be uploaded on YouTube. Others record their voice and send it to Manoj which will be further processed in the studio for uploading. The stories, however, will go through a screening process and it will be ensured that no violence, politics or obscene language is used.

The YouTube channel which has more than 1000 subscribers and around 37,000 viewers/listeners was initially started in November 2017 with just 45 stories uploaded. Now two new stories appear every week. The switching on ceremony of the channel was done by M K Gopinathan Nair (popularly known as Vaisakhan), President, Kerala Sahitya Akademi.

The YouTube channel broadcasts works of only contemporary writers. The only exception was the narration of a story by the late writer and director P Padmarajan.

“Along with my father’s story ‘Moonnu Kathukal’, I narrated my own stories also and more than 1000 people have listened to them. Some even responded, which would not have happened otherwise. ‘Oridathoridath’ will certainly attract more people to stories,” says P Ananthapadmanabhan, the filmmaker’s son.

Some of the noted stories on the channel include ‘Photo’ by M Mukundan, ‘Vijigeeshu’ by K P Sudheera, ‘Samayam’ by A Sethumadhavan and ‘Vaathmeekam’ by Anand Neelakandan (author of ‘Rise of Sivagami’). The stories are mostly narrated by the authors themselves.

Manoj had also met legendary writer M T Vasudevan Nair to seek his suggestions on the venture. “A similar story-telling model was experimented in the West, which ultimately failed; but this venture should not meet that fate and have to be a success,” remarked M T.

For tuning in for more stories, visit, www.youtube.com/c/oridathoridathu

The channel has recorded over 50,000 views from over 1500 subscribers since its launch in last November.

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