Every war leaves behind a scar. For some it means a brutal reality that opens the floodgates to never-ending pain and torment. Inam, Santosh Sivan’s English-Tamil bilingual, follows a group of teenagers caught in the tyranny of Sri Lankan Civil War. The film starts when 20-year-old Rajini crosses the sea to seek refuge and through her we are introduced to a bevy of lives struggling for survival. “It’s a highly humane tale set against the backdrop of war,” says Santosh Sivan.
The film zooms into a family where people without any families live - an orphanage. “The characters are basically a bunch of teenagers orphaned by war. Theirs is a small world that oscillates between emotions ranging from love and kindness to hatred and revenge,” he says. Santosh also adds that Inam is not a very serious or clinical take on the war-torn island. “The film definitely has its emotional high points and you will find lots of black humour in it,” he says.
He says Inam is inspired by a real-life story, its narrative loosely based on the account of a Sri Lankan war victim. “There was this young girl who told me about her struggles till she landed in India as a refugee. The thread had a universal appeal, people across the world could easily connect to her trauma. It’s a story that could have happened at any place,” he says.
The theme of war-wrecked lives is also reflected in the title Inam which means mob.
“A mob is marked by any variant like language or religion, even school children become a mob at times. Here it’s their common tragedy that connects the members of the mob,” he says. The film was shot in various locations including Kerala, Thirunelveli, Rameswaram and Maharashtra.
The film has in its cast an actor with Down Syndrome and Inam is mainly told through his perspective. “Star S Karan plays Nandan, a 17-year-old boy who gets separated from his brother. With a knife in his pocket he goes on searching for his brother who has joined the rebels. Seeing the war through his eyes means there is no bias or political colouring. It’s a fresh point of view and the treatment is different.” Karan, the actor who plays Nandan, was trained for months so that he could be comfortable in front of cameras. “He plays one of the lead characters and the shoot was scheduled according to his moods.” Sugandha Ram who has been part of films like Tere Bin Laden’, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and My Name is Khan plays Rajini, the female lead.
Yesteryear actress Saritha appears in a key role as Tsunami akka who runs the orphanage. “She is also a victim and she tries to help the children who are orphaned by the war. Karunas plays another important role as Stanley, a school teacher. Shyam Sunder, M K Vijayan, Janaki, Vikram Chakkravarthy and Soumya Sadanandan are also part of the cast.
The film produced by Mubina Rattonsey and Santosh Sivan will hit the screens this Friday.