Bringing into focus a forgotten crisis

K. Ajith Kumar

KOZHIKODE, MARCH 14, 2017 20:45 IST

UPDATED: MARCH 16, 2017 19:10 IST
Leena Manimekalai is all praise for women’s film fest held in Kozhikode

In 2010, a cargo ship named Sun Sea landed in troubled waters in Canada.

The ship, with 492 Sri Lankan Tamils on board, had reached British Columbia from Thailand after a voyage of three months. Their detention of the asylum-seekers was criticised by the Amnesty International. Leena Manimekalai is making a film on that incident. She will begin shooting Sooryaregai (The Sunshine) later this year.

“Talks are also on with International producers. S.R. Prabhu is the Indian producer.”

It is the poet-director’s second feature film. Her first, Sengadal, was screened before a full house at the Women’s International Film Festival, which concluded here last weekend. “I am glad that the Kerala Chalachitra Academy and the Federation of Film Societies of India decided to organise a film festival for women,” says the Chennai-based director.

“It was nice to meet other female film-makers and to see so many women in the audience. This was certainly one of the best screenings Sengadal, which I made in 2011, has ever had in Kerala.” The film was about the plight of the fishermen of Dhanushkodi. “Nobody seems to care about those people even now,” she says. “In virtually every family you meet there, there would be men who have been killed or jailed in Sri Lanka.”

She had hit the headlines a fortnight ago when she said that director Kamal was planning to make an English film on Kamala Das in which she was supposed to play the bilingual author.

“It was after a lot of deliberation that I decided to write about it on my FB page,” she says. “I don’t know what is happening with Kamal’s film in Malayalam. Yes, I have heard that Vidya Balan backed out of it. I will start my film on Kamala Das right after I complete Sooryaregai.”

At the moment, she is busy giving finishing touches to her documentary, The Rape Nation.

(This article has been corrected for factual errors.)

Bringing into focus a forgotten crisis

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