Nithuna ends her short film ‘Meals Ready’ with the protagonists sharing a sweet. It’s a small toffee but big enough to give the audience the sweetness of a dignified living. ‘Meals Ready,’ directed by Nithuna Nevil Dinesh screened in Kozhikode as part of the Thantedam Gender Festival, is about the life of an oldman who earns a meal by displaying the ‘Meals Ready’ board to the speeding motorists along the highway.
At one side, it shows the sufferings of the aged man to earn daily bread, the selfishness of restaurant owner, the stark contrast between the haves and have nots and the like. At the other, it’s all about seeing the cup half full rather than half empty.Clad in a red uniform, the old man positions himself beside the highway in front of the restaurant every noon.
Braving the hot sun and walking over the red hot tarred road, he displays the ‘Meals Ready’ board to every single motorist inviting him to the restaurant. Some of them accepts his invitation but pay scant regard to the old man except a little girl who presents him a toffee, while leaving. After the lunch time, he walks away with a packet of meals. Sitting on the floor inside the shack, the man and his wife have the meal, give a handful of rice mixed with fried fish to their pet cat and share the sweet.
“Life can be tough but one has to derive happiness from sharing, caring and enjoying what he or she really has. Despite the state of having nothing, they could manage to live with self-respect and enjoy the sweet, which is the essence of fruitful living. No matter how aged you are and no matter the hardships you suffer, life is about being happy and contented,” says Nithuna, a dubbing artist by profession and the daughter of noted dubbing artist Beena Nevil.
‘Meals Ready’, Nithuna’s second short film, evolved when she came to know from one of her friends that canvassing customers was a common sight in front of the restaurants along the highways in northern Kerala. She travelled from Kozhikode to Vadakara to gain a first hand experience and shot those people. “We had a discussion at home regarding the subject and it was my mother who suggested the name ‘Meals Ready’ for the film,”she says.
Nithuna, a graduate in English literature hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, received the John Abraham National Award for Best Short Feature in Signs festival 2012, Golden Halo award (filmmker category) at the SCRIPT short film festial 2012 at Kochi, shared best short film award at the Nagpur International Short Film Festival, best sound mixing at theKerala State Children’s Education Film Festival 2011 organised by the StateIET and got a special jury award for direction at the Don Bosco short film festival 2011 at Kochi. Her first short film ‘An Unusal Day’ (2010), was based on K A Beena’s short story.
Jayan Vanneri penned the script for both the films.Adds Nithuna, “At the script festival I received the award from Adoor Gopalakrishnan sir and I felt really proud.” So what’s next for the young filmmaker? “My plan is to make one film a year. Now, I am looking for a new subject but under a little pressure that I have to raise the standards,’’ she chuckles.