Fighting the odds

‘Neha Ente Koottukari’, a 20-minute short-film on Neha D Thampan, a ten-year- old with cerebral palsy, was screened in t

Published: 14th January 2012 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:14 PM   |  A+A-


Neha (left) with her friend Mahima during the screening of the film ‘Neha Ente Koottukari’ at the Kalabhavan theatre here on Friday | B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After watching ‘Neha Ente Koottukari’, it may necessitate an introspection. In the self-analysis, one may realise how blessed we are and the abilities god has gifted us. Because the central character in the twenty-minute long short film is Neha D Thampan, a ten-year-old girl born with cerebral palsy disorder.

Though caught by the octopus hands of the disease, she can move her hands and write for a while and walk for a short distance with assistance.

A fifth standard student of Cotton Hill school in the city turned an actor in the film owing to the strong determination she possesses to overcome a hoard of hurdles fate has posed before her.

The director of the movie, K Swaminathan met her while videographing a documentary for the Urban Resource Centre an year ago.  Swaminathan, a teacher with the Government High School, Kalady, explains, “She was in standard four then. Her talent made me think of making a film about her,” he says.

The actors in the movie are her friends, classmates and students of Ambalathara UPS.

A brief talk with Neha is enough to substantiate that she never ‘acted’ for the film. For her, acting is as simple as learning ABC.

“I just did my routine things before the camera. So acting never appeared a daunting task,” she beams. Maybe because she was born to short-film maker Deepu V Thampan and home-maker Jaya Deepu. “Yet, I did not like to sit in that wheel-chair,” she says expressing her discomfort about a wheel chair scene. Neha is always as merry as a grig.

Except the fact that she is in the grips of the dreadful disease, the little girl is a gushing cascade of creativity. In words and pictures, she expresses the beautiful sights and scenes around her. She has published a collection of her poems named ‘Thumbi’ comprising some five poems. Leisure times, she enjoys in the company of books and drawing pictures. Then she tries her hands on mobile phone and computer.

When she is asked to speak on her ambitions, she would immediately unfurl a long list. Teacher, district collector, computer engineer, air hostess, news reporter, camera person.... The list is unending. “Still I have a special liking to wield camera for my father’s movie,” she smiles.

Her mother Jaya says that though they underwent initial hardships for her treatment and school admission, now everything is going on well.

“We faced the toughest period in our life when she was denied education by some private schools. But when we contacted the principal of Cotton Hill LPS, she simply told us to bring her to school,” she says. According to Santhi teacher, “she brings her own opinion in everything”. Priyakumari teacher says  “she is one among the brilliant students in the class.”

The plot of the film revolves around the theme, in which a mischievous brat, Abinav transforms into a well-behaved child after he gets acquainted with Neha. The boy who was an epitome of disobedience, annoyance and wrath undergoes an amazing change after watching how brilliantly Neha executes many a thing while coping with her limitations. The film concludes on a note of realisation on the part of the boy about the blessings in life.

The film, screened at the Kalabhavan theatre on Friday, had bagged the award for second best film and best director at the Kerala Children’s Film Festival at Kozhikode in 2011. It was produced by South Urban Resource Centre in the city.


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