14 May, 2021

Reel Off The Biriyani

Biriyani Films counters the misappropriation of our fave food

The shooting of Ellam Sheriyaavum
Reel Off The Biriyani

Although dismissed offhand as one of those ‘Southern’ frivolities—think, the much-queried ‘h’ that appends not a few ‘t’s and ‘d’s—the ‘i’ at the heart of the spelt-as-spoken biriyani is hardly superfluous. Allowances for geo-linguistic variances notwithstanding, some posit that it is a metaphor for the intensely personal relationship between sub-continental palates and the closest we have to a consensus on soul food. It’s not for nothing that biriyanis regularly pip pizzas for top spot on annual consumer food-beh­aviour surveys.

While this passion has long inf­ormed and whetted mostly good-natured dinner-table deb­ates, a decidedly unsavoury manifestation has been ‘biriyani baiting’—as evinced most recently by the vitriol directed toward protestors in Shaheen Bagh, among others. To counter this appropriation, a group of cinephiles in Kerala set out in 2017 to rec­laim the biriyani by adopting it as muse, motif and remuneration for their nascent production...

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