Ernakulam: A group of talented young girls from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham's visual media department has captured international attention with their poignant short film 'Inaippu.' The film has earned a spot as an official selection in the prestigious 'Health For All Film Festival', 2023, of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The short film is centred around the critical issue of malnutrition among tribal children in India. It was shot in a remote tribal village of the Paniyar community in Mananthavady, Wayanad.
The five-minute fiction film takes us through a day in the life of Devan, a young schoolboy.
The narration proceeds through his connection with his unborn sister. Hence the title ‘Inaippu’ which translates to 'connection' in Tamil.
The journey to this remarkable achievement has been nothing short of a challenging adventure for the students. They faced numerous hurdles while attempting to connect with the locals and convey the importance of their project.
Initially, the villagers were sceptical about the purpose of the shooting, but with time, the team won their trust and worked together to tell a powerful story that transcends borders.
“It was not easy convincing them to act, they were all reluctant to shoot, they didn't know what this was for. They were seeing the camera for the first time. We clicked a photo to give them an idea of what is happening,” says Shilpa R, scriptwriter of the film.
“We also had to face many challenges. We needed a pregnant lady for the shoot, but our attempts to find one among the tribal community failed, so we decided to shoot with prosthetics. But the lady we chose was shy, it took us hours to talk her down,” said the director, Sreelakshmi M Nair.
'Inaippu' has garnered recognition on the global stage, competing with hundreds of international short films at the WHO Film Festival. The event aims to galvanize a new generation of filmmakers and video innovators to advocate for crucial global health issues. Each year, the festival receives thousands of entries from over 100 countries, making the selection process highly competitive.
“We started to plan for the film in the second year of our course. We had this competition in our mind so we wrote the script accordingly,” said the director.
The film was recognised in the 'Better Health and Well Being' category. The WHO’s jury panel included United Nations Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming and WHO's director of Nutrition and Food Safety, Dr. Francesco Branca.
The team behind 'Inaippu' consists of talented individuals whose passion for filmmaking has shone through their work. The cast and crew include Sreelakshmi M Nair, Bhavya Babu, Devika Vidyasagaran Pillai, Stephy Ann Vinod, Sneha A, Lakshmi S, Nidhi Raj S, Shilpa R, Parvathy Ramesh, S Sriharsha, Devika Prasant, and Samyuktha Ashok. Their efforts were skillfully guided by faculty members Krishnakumar and Varun Prabha.
Through their film, 'Inaippu' these young filmmakers have not only honed their creative skills but have also amplified the voices of vulnerable children in remote areas, bringing attention to the urgent issue of malnutrition in tribal communities.