Onam celebrations: Facebook spotlights Pulikkali artists in a new short film

HomeIn-FocusOnam celebrations: Facebook spotlights Pulikkali artists in a new short film

Social media platform Facebook has launched a short film to celebrate the festive spirit of Onam. The film is an extension of its More Together campaign highlighting how culture has gone virtual and communities are coming together on Facebook in unique ways during not-so-normal times.

The film is based on a true story that centres around the popular folk art of Pulikkali, in which performers – painted like tigers – dance in the streets of Kerala to entertain people as part of Onam celebrations. The film features members of Ayyanthole Desam Pulikkali Samghataka Samithi who found a way to reach their avid fans through a live performance on Facebook last year amidst COVID-19 restrictions; bringing people from across the world closer to the traditions of Onam and enabling them to participate in the festivities virtually.

Avinash Pant, Director – Marketing, Facebook India, said, “Facebook’s core belief is that ‘People can do more together, than alone’ and this film captures the spirit and resilience of people and the numerous ways in which they come together on the platform in less than normal times. This was an extraordinary story and we believed it deserved a wider canvas to showcase the power of online communities in a physically distant world.”

Facebook collaborated with Dentsu Mcgarrybowen and Director Atul Kattukaran to bring this story alive.

Talking about the film, Sidharth Rao, CEO, Dentsu Mcgarrybowen, said, “Great things happen when people come together. We were lucky enough to witness this sentiment. This was one of those rare opportunities to share the true story of the Ayyanthole Desam Pulikkali Sanghataka Samithi for an incredibly consequential global brand. While the scale at which we celebrate the 10-day festival of Onam cannot be replicated virtually, what actually transpired on-ground during 2020 and how we’ve tried to honestly capture that in film, is a testament to Facebook’s philosophy of being a place where people can do More Together.”

Atul Kattukaran, Director, said, “When one door closes, God opens another! I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Our plans aren’t always the best and most times circumstances lead us to far greater opportunities. That’s the theme I explored through this tale of 25 relentless Pulikali dancers who roared together even when the going got tough! This film is particularly close to my heart, because it gives you a glimpse into the lives of this community and how even an ancient art form like Pulikali is ready to adapt and innovate according to changing times.”

As part of Onam celebrations, Facebook will also be rolling out an AR filter that’ll take Pulikkali to users in yet another way. With the filter, users can don the mask of a roaring tiger themselves and virtually place themselves in Swaraj Round, Thrissur where Pulikkali happens every year. To use the AR filter, users can go to the newsfeed, go to the camera, and search for the “Roaring Onam” filter which will go live on August 19.

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