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Filled by poignant images

S.R.ASHOK KUMAR

Gripping narratives make two of Leena Manimekalai’s works distinct.



Real life: Shooting at a slum

Documentary filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has added to her repertoire through two of her recent works — ‘A Hole in the Bucket’ and ‘Goddesses.’

Produced by Saci Waters, an international consortium for water issues, the new film, ‘A Hole in the Bucket,’ takes a look at the perennial water crisis in the city of Chennai in the context of families with different income levels. The anomalies are all too obvious.

The women in a seaside slum spend all their time collecting and storing water, spending three rupees for a pot, and one rupee for each visit to the public toilet. On the other hand, a high-rise apartment complex just about manages to get a steady supply of metro water and ground water, with comparatively lower charges as water and sanitation tax.

A farmer sells the ground water on his land to the city’s Metro Water Corporation for a measly Rs. 50 per 12,000 litres, overlooking the possibility of his own resource drying up. The documentary captures the distressing reality of water becoming a commodity, exploited by both individuals and government agencies.

Fowzia Fathima’s camera brings alive the situation flooding the screen with water and leaving the viewer thirsty.

‘Goddesses’ follows the lives of three extraordinary women — Lakshmi, Krishnaveni, and Sethurakku — who go against norms to succeed in usually male-oriented careers: a fisherwoman, a gravedigger and a funeral singer.

All about women

The film weaves together the emotions of these women and the difficulties they go through to keep their lives intact. How their humane outlook causes a sense of shame in people more blessed is poignantly brought out. Cinematographer Sunny Joseph employs his talent well to reflect the moods.



Leena Manimekalai .

Audiographer Santhaana Nambi’s work is worth mentioning. Both films have been edited by P. Thangaraj, whose skill helps dovetail the frames in seamless continuity. Kanavuppattarai, Leena Manimekalai’s home production company, has produced ‘Goddesses.’

Leena Manimekalai’s films have been screened in several forums, has won best film awards and mentions in about eight international and national film festivals which include Women in Director’s Chair International Film Festival (Chicago), Movies International Film Festival in Europe, Independent Art Film Festival (Toronto), Independent Film Festivals in Norway and Paris, Asian Freedom Film Festival (Malaysia), European Union Fellowship for Conflict Resolution and so on.

‘A Hole in the Bucket’ got a premiere in the Stockholm International Water Conference Film Festival last august.

‘Goddesses’ got a mention in the Women Building Peace International Film Competition held in Kenya this September and is set to travel to Gutenberg International Film Fest, Vancouver International Film Festival, Ottawa Independent Film Festival, Asian Women Travelling Film Festival and many to come in the recent months.

Touring Talkies Media Works Pvt Ltd, which Manimekalai jointly runs with her husband and filmmaker C. Jerrold, is the producer of ‘Madurai,’ the soap on Vijay TV.

Leena Manimekalai is now all set to begin the production of a full length feature film ‘Azhagaana Thavarugal.’

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