THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s not difficult to find the house of Sneha Anu in the densely-populated Rajaji Nagar colony in the capital. Ask any resident and they happily guide visitors to the residence of the 15-year-old who bagged the Best Child Artist (female) honour in the State Film Awards 2021 that were announced on Friday. She was awarded for her gripping portrayal of ‘Mullu’ in the film Thala written and directed by Khais Millen.
The reason for the residents’ happiness is twofold: The first is, of course, the award which they believe would advance the teenager’s career. The second is the hope that the honour would help them collectively move further away from the infamous past of the colony, earlier known as Chenkalchoola. The news of her win came as a surprise to her as well as her family, which comprises her parents and grandparents, as they had no clue she was in the running.
“The production process of the film went on for four years as it had to show everything, including the physical growth of children, as part of the plot. I was in Class 4 when shooting began. A majority of the scenes was shot here. In a way, I was growing up with the movie. The shoot was wrapped up before the announcement of Covid-induced lockdown,” says Sneha, a Class 9 student of Government Cotton Hill Girls Higher Secondary School. “It was director Khais who told my grandfather Jayan that I had won,” says Sneha, who wants to be an actor.
‘Happy my daughter’s talents were recognised’
Sneha’s father K N Anu is a temporary sanitation worker who maintains the Thumboormuzhi aerobic bins in the capital city. He believes the award would help Sneha have a bright future. “I have been a temporary employee there for 10 years and run a five-member family with my meagre income. I am happy my daughter’s talent was recognised,” he says. Sneha’s grandmother Nagamma says Mullu was the teenager’s actual nickname.
“We feel proud of our Mullu. Due to the achievements of youngsters like her from our colony, people like us from the older generation are sure the notorious old history linked with Chenkalchoola will be wiped out,” she says. Thala is not Sneha’s first film. She had also won critical acclaim for her performance in the 2015 film Roopantharam, written and directed by Padmakumar.