Contemporary Heroines (2015) is the second part of Abul Kalam Azad’s ongoing series that draws its roots from the classical Tamil epic poetry Silappathikaram, which is believed to have been composed during the Sangam / Early historic period (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE) by the Cera dynasty’s Prince-turned-Jain-poet Ilango Adigal. It is believed that Poet Ilango was staying in Trikkana Mathilakam (present Mathilakam Panchayath, Kerala) which was an important Jain Centre during the Sangam period while composing his epic. It must befrom here the poet derived the landscape and heroines, the legendary Kannaki and Matavi,and other characters of his poetry. ‘Contemporary Heroines,’ shot in the same region, tells the tales of the great women of our times, hidden among us and engaged in their ordinary lives, each leading a life rich in detail, struggles, woes, passion and happiness.
Laina (39), housewife, is married to local poet and cultural activist Anil Cherukkupalli. His full time occupation is that of an automobile painter. Her ancestral house is over a hundred years old, with three ponds that were used for bathing, washing and drinking respectively. Those days children from neighbouring houses used to come and swim here for two to three hours. She mentioned that her children are not at all interested in interacting with the neighbours and playing with them, as they have their own preferences now.