Real-life heroes: Fishermen's tales of bravery exceed the horrors depicted in '2018' film

Fishermen and 2018 movie
The movie revives the horror of the catastrophic deluge in the minds of those who battled or witnessed the worst disaster to hit the state. Photo: Manorama

The Tovino Thomas-starrer ‘2018’ is based on the devastating floods that wreaked havoc in Kerala five years back. In fact, the movie revives the horror of the catastrophic deluge in the minds of those who battled or witnessed the worst disaster to hit the state in nearly a century.

The big-budget movie has emerged as the highest-grossing Malayalam film of all time and is still running to full houses at theatres. The film is now available on the ‘Sony Liv’ Platform, especially for those who couldn’t watch it at the movie houses.

Manorama Online facilitates the coming together of some of the real heroes, the fishermen who saved numerous lives while risking their own, outside the silver screen. They still feel the coldness of gushing waters when they threw safety to caution and rowed snake boats through the rampaging rivers and streams to save each and every life.

These real-life heroes too have much more horrifying memories to share than what is depicted in the movie.

The roar of Pamba river still reverberates in the ears
“What we experienced in real-life situations was much more terrifying than what is shown in the film. We saved the lives of all, may it be humans or animals, whom we could reach. Many offered us money. We refused the same without even looking at the sum. No one would think of their own safety while trying to save others’ lives. The roar of the cascading waters in the Pamba river still reverberates in our ears. In our effort to reach the hapless victims, we clung to electric lines and move forward as strong currents threatened to sweep us away. Buses lay completely flooded. Often, we grabbed coconuts floating in the flood waters to quench our thirst and hunger.

Many times, we couldn’t make out the houses, completely flooded by rising water, and had accidentally gone into the wells. Our boats capsized multiple times while attempting to carry stranded people to safety. Then there was a one-and-a-half-year-old child in the country boat. Without thinking twice, we jumped into the water and saved the toddler. Even as everyone around you is screaming for help, there is a limit your countryside boat can take. Can we ask any of them to deboard? Often, we used to shout at the top of our voices asking people not to hop onto the boat all at once till blood would ooze out of our throats.

But then nothing can replace the grand welcome accorded by villagers once we completed the rescue operations. That will be etched in our memory forever. Felt happy when we saw the film, but what we faced in real life was much more huge in dimension and challenging,” the fishermen say.

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