The quaint little islands of Lakshadweep may seem like a haven for tourists. But, for the islanders life is nothing short of an ordeal. Frequent shortage of diesel and other essential commodities, including rice and food items, have sparked several protests in the islands and across the sea at Kerala’s commercial capital.
With all else having failed, the youth from the islands have resorted to a short film to air their woes. The trailer of the short film ‘Numma Nattakku Banna Halla’, in translations ‘The misfortunes of our land’ will be released at the Press Club on September 3.
The movie directed by Dhahlan Lakshadweep, who hails from Amini, is a satirical take on issues plaguing the islands. At the beginning of the
film, the protagonist played by Ismael is seen throwing his mobile phone several times in the air just like one would toss a cricket ball.
The scene may look absurd to the viewer, but the islanders claim, this is what they often do (collect range from a higher turf) owing to the lack of network availability at the islands.
Dhahlan says that on any given day, they have to take a ride to the ground where the BSNL tower is located and make emergency calls. News of marriage and death still reach the households late, in a land where newspapers arrive only once every week.
And in an era, when everything has gone digital including online applications to education institutions and reserving train tickets from the mainland, the lack of Internet connection is a serious issue. “By the time, we are finally able to apply online, the date of application would have been over,” said Abdul Salam, an islander.
Ismail and Sainul Abid, who belong to the Thekkan Thanima Arts and Sports Recreation Club make light-hearted conversations in the film, but with a tinge of sarcasm.
Fuel is an essential commodity in the island which do not have fuel bunks. Electricity is converted directly from the diesel brought from the mainland.
“Almost often, the diesel is brought to the island days after we run out of fuel. This results in lack of electricity and other problems,” add the actors in the film.
Frequent disruption of cargo service to the islands result in shortage of essential commodities. This in turn, results in price hike. The price of beverages which include sugar, tea and coffee shoot upto `50 and `60.
“Booking tickets on passenger ships is an ordeal in itself. Sometimes, one has to wait in queue for two days to get their ship tickets booked. Some other times, ships are hardly on schedule making life hell for passengers,” Dhahlan said.
The last scene in the short film shows the protagonist who is critically injured not receiving any medical aid owing to the lack of doctors and a proper health centre in the island.
The short film is produced by Thahir Ansar, Aboo Hashim and Saleem Mohammed.