An interesting and ironical conversation between two individuals might be an eye-opener for many - A : “If I got cancer because of passive smoking, would you give up smoking?” B: “Well of course I would, I’d feel so guilty that it had been my fault!”... A: “So I have to get cancer before you give it up?” This is not the attitude of any one smoker but the thought process of thousands out there who have been addicted to the menace of smoking. It is known to all that most chain smokers live in the myth that the ill-effects of their habit affect them and them alone. But unfortunately, they don’t realise that each poisonous puff is slowly filling up in the lungs of those living around them, causing them immense damage, for no fault of theirs. When someone smokes a cigarette, the smoke released into the air stays suspended in it for upto two-and-a-half hours even if one can’t see it or smell it. And when someone other than the smoker breathes that air, he or she becomes prey to passive smoking which carries about the same health risks as smoking. Focusing exclusively on passive smoking and its harmful effects is Rayamangalam Jayakrishnan’s short film Mukhathu Thuppunnavar. It was last year that Jayakrishanan, a native of Perumbavur, thought of paying a tribute to people, especially children, who die because of the ill-effects of passive smoking. “Much has been talked on the subject of active smoking and its side effects but not many realise that passive smoking is equally dangerous. According to a recent UN report, around six lakh people die because of passive smoking. And this figure is really shocking. So I wanted to do something in tribute to those people. And what better way of communicating this message than films,” says Jayakrishnan, who has also penned many short stories and novels which are published in various Malayalam dailies and magazines. He recently bagged the Suvarnarekha Katha Puraskaram for his story titled Jeevikunna Prathimakal. For Jayakrishnan, who is a marketing personnel by profession without any professional backing in filmmaking, it took one year to write and direct this 30-minute short film. The short film Mukhathu Thuppunnavar or Those who spit on the face opens with a fifty-plus father of three, addicted to smoking. His addiction is such that he cannot quit smoking even for few minutes to join his family at a temple or while going to bed or in the middle of the night. He doesn’t even bother to leave the living room where his family is sitting while smoking. Though his actions are not supported by his family, the short film throws light on the helplessness of the family which has to live with chain smokers like him. Ask Jayakrishnan about the title, he says, “I wanted to voice my opinion against passive smoking.” The short film takes a twist when one expects the chain smoker to fall prey to lung cancer but unfortunately it is his asthmatic wife who falls prey to her husband’s actions. She is diagnosed in the last stage of lung cancer and the husband out of guilt quits smoking. “The message I wanted to convey is ‘why wait to quit smoking till something awful happens?" The short film, written and directed by Rayamangalam Jayakrishnan, is produced by Vinod V. Editing is done by Rafi Metrics and music is by RLV M S Radhakrishnan.