KOCHI: The context of ‘Utharakadalas’, directed by Indu V R (Indu Lekshmi), is something most of us can relate to—the day teachers decide to distribute answer sheets in class. Mathematics is the subject in question, which means that there is little hope of it turning out well. Students wait in apprehension as each stack is given out, and the teacher reprimands students for their poor marks. Soon, he calls for Manu, but there is no reply.
Manu and two of his friends are missing, as heard from the whispers between the children. Suddenly, the situation is diffused by a commotion outside. Enter the naughty trio, who bunked class for some fun time out. Naturally, the teacher doesn’t share their spirit and askthe gang to bring their parents before they are let back into the class. Their answer sheets remain with him too.
Not all children get to open up to their parents, for a range of reasons. What started as tomfoolery gets too serious too fast, as the teacher refuses to budge. Manu confides in his elder brother, who offers him emotional support, reminding Manu that he is good at maths. But Manu grows paranoid and even begins to believe that the teacher might deliberately rub off the answers to fail him.
Filmed by Navaneeth R, the movie reflects the emotional stress children go through, and the lengths to which it could snowball. The short movie is inspired by a social media post that Indu came across, from writer and journalist Manu Remakanth in memory of his late brother. “The plot of the movie is still a prominent issue that children face. A similar instance occurred in my maid’s family. This was my drive behind making this short film,” says Indu, who also wrote the movie. Manu’s character is played by Indu’s six-year-old son Niranjan Nair, who would always nag his mother for a chance to act. The cast of students includes Gautham Ratheesh, Rahul S, Aromal R S and Raveendran Nair (as the Mathematics teacher).
The film was shot in three days at the Government LP School, Mylam. An IT professional turned filmmaker, Indu says her heart lies in film making and creative writing.
Her first short movie ‘Alikhitham’ was released while she was employed at an IT firm, at a short-film fest organised there. “I had the whole sequence in mind. When I spoke to a director friend, he encouraged me to go ahead, even though I have no background in filmmaking,” Indu recalls.
The movie touches your sentimentalities and leaves you heartbroken at the end. It premiered at the Kolkata International Film Festival. Indu plans to hold a YouTube release soon.