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.
Sulochana (70), housewife, married to Velayudan, a fisherman living in Koolimuttam Beach, Mathilakam. Her ancestral home had a Sarpa Kavu (meaning Abode of Snakes), a traditional natural sacred space believed to be inhabited by snakes. The Kavu has idols of Naga Raja, Mani Nagam and Guru Nagam. During festivals, folk singers gather, sing songs and conduct special poojas.