April 28th 2013. Two days since the grand release of Iron Man 3 in India. The Indian Premiere League was becoming ridiculously religious. The city of Chennai was fuming with a hot summer. The news channels juggled between a citizen’s rape and a minister’s scam; both tabloids serving as major scoops for spectators and sponsors. Affluent individuals with active social networking profiles talked about everything aforementioned. If it weren’t for a bunch of aspiring film makers working effortlessly to showcase their short film, it would have been just another normal day.
It’s not a coincidence that I got invited to the preview of Nalladhor Veenai. I have been acquainted with the team (White Bird Pictures) for quite some time. As a matter of fact, one of my earlier posts talked about their previous short film, and how short films have become a creative platform for voicing out opinions, projecting both conventional and unconventional ideas. Nalladhor Veenai belonged to the latter.
This particular short film projects the mind space of a guy who recalls his traumatic experience as a school kid. The perpetrator turns out to be his tutor who rapes the school boy at his will. Fearing the possibility of disgrace and shame, the kid never reveals the torture. But then, all beings exposed to pain and torture have a tipping point. The protagonist’s tipping point is revealed towards the end. Does he manage to fight with his inner demons? Does he ever reveal his trauma? Does the evil tutor get his due? Nalladhor Veenai answers all these questions.
But that’s not all what Nalladhor Veenai does. It also places you in a state of self-questioning mode. How many of your friends have faced this trauma as kids? What if your neighbor was a sex addict? Are the children really safe as we believe them to be? As soon as the final frames of the short film begin to fade away, one cannot fail to notice a big ‘BEWARE’ sign that does its job of making an impression. To add to the stir, we are also told that the short film is based on a true story. It took twenty minutes for the cast and crew to convey a point that usually takes half a lifetime for a victim to open up. In my honest opinion, that is a commendable effort.
As soon as the movie got over and the lights came back on, I couldn’t help but notice an agitated look on some of the faces. These faces belonged to a few parents. I even overheard one of them saying, “I would have never watched this if I knew what the short film was about”. Yes, you have the privilege of not knowing what the victims know. It did bother me, but that’s what irrationality is all about. We get to go back to our normal lives, debating endlessly about sports and religion. A victim cannot. Crimes happen because we allow them to happen. Deniability becomes the perfect accomplice. The digital age has placed devices in our hands but we fail to communicate. Talk to your friends and neighbors. What poisons the neighbor’s soil will poison yours too. Not today, not tomorrow, but someday.
Nalladhor Veenai is currently doing the rounds at award houses and private screenings. It might soon hit YouTube or Vimeo. Get the latest updates of the movie and other upcoming projects at https://www.facebook.com/whitebirdpictures