Unveiling the Kavadi Tradition

“Ignore the camera, just look at me.”

That’s what Navin Kumar, a Digital Film & Television student, tells his interviewees when the camera is planted right in front of them.

Navin is an expert at interviewing people and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera. He is patient and encouraging, and manages to capture real emotions when he films. This year, Navin has clenched one of the most prestigious awards for his film, ‘Journey of a Kavadi Bearer,’ winning the Best Documentary Award at the National Youth Film Festival 2015. The film depicts a spiritual journey of a Taoist medium who participates in the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam.

Together with his supportive crew, they survived sleepless nights to piece the winning film together. Establishing wonderful friendships along the way, and coming home to a great support system, helped Navin find the strength to persevere in film-making.

Navin’s mother, Esther, has been his biggest fan and greatest motivator.

“Your name will appear one day in the credit roll,” says Esther whenever they watch movies at home.

Navin’s drive for success is heavy, despite his struggles. Losing his father at a young age took a massive toll on his family, but Navin’s strength reflects clearly in his eyes.

“Life goes on, you have to face it. Everyone has struggles and pain. If you dwell on your past, you can’t move on. We have to stay strong.”

Navin’s passion for film was instilled since his ITE days and he dreams of showcasing more films surrounding Indian culture and traditions. Thaipusam is close to Navin’s heart.

“My father would definitely be proud of me, if he was around. He used to participate in Thaipusam for many years. This film, in a way, is a dedication to him.”


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