A film by Zanny Begg
I am Kannagi is a short film commissioned by STARTTS (Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and co-funded by The Australian Council for the Arts. The film reimagines the ancient 2000 year old Silapathikaram epic that tells the story of a woman forced into exile who confronts and overthrows the king of her adopted home.
At its most simple Kannagi is the story of a troubled marriage. Although several thousand years old, and part of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram, it resonates with contemporary themes of forced migration and female empowerment. Kannagi’s husband leaves her for a dancer and only returns once he has lost his fortune. While Kannagi agrees to take her husband back they are forced into exile and tragedy strikes when he is wrongly accused of a theft and killed without trial by the King. Kannagi retaliates by proving her husbands innocence and burning down the palace in a torrent of vengeance.
Australia is home to a sizeable Tamil refugee population and this project was created in collaboration with the Tamil community including both those seeking asylum in Australia and those who currently have citizenship rights. The short film will be exhibited as part of an installation at Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, in 2020.