Merku Thodarchi Malai had its International Premiere at the 17th annual New York Indian Film Festival and was received with great appreciation by a multicultural audience in Manhattan’s East Village theatre. The film, directed by Lenin Bharathi and produced by Vijay Sethupathi, focuses on the landless labour class living on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Following the screening, director Lenin, participated in a lively Q&A session with festival programmer, Giri Mohan Coneti. The audience was fascinated by the film’s ensemble cast, comprising mostly of non-actors, and the film’s breathtaking cinematography.
Many also inquired about director Lenin’s upbringing in Theni district and how his father’s political career inspired his own filmmaking. Kathy Sanson, an instructor at the Boricua College in New York, who has travelled to Kerala before, was all praise for Lenin’s work: “This film is extremely important because it’s a reality that is never shown; it really puts into context what is happening in many other parts of India for farmers and labourers.”
The film was also nominated for Best Screenplay at the festival.