Ente, which is based on a true story, delves into trafficking. The film reaches theatres today.

Recent events have given Indians a rude awakening about the atrocities committed against women on a daily basis, leading to protests and outrage. For many, the horror of the crimes committed and its intensity are just sinking in now.

Ask Sunitha Krishnan, however, and she will tell you a 100 such stories that slipped unnoticed under our moral radars. A social activist and campaigner against human trafficking, she considers women forced into prostitution to be victims as well, though their stories are often ignored by society.

After years of working to rescue and rehabilitate women and children, Sunitha believes it is time to take these stories to the masses and show them the grim realities that she faces on an almost daily basis. The result is Ente, a film directed by her spouse and well-known director Rajesh Touchriver, which tells the story of a father and daughter and how they deal with the upheaval in their life when the daughter gets caught in trafficking. The film, which releases today, stars Siddique and Anjali Patil in lead roles.

When asked about the premise of the movie, which is based on a true story, Sunitha does not beat about the bush, “I have been working with women caught up in terrible circumstances for a while now, often risking and sometimes sustaining injuries during attempts to rescue them. I believe the plight of a large section of women in our country is something people need to be aware of, and while we have tried to reach out before, the results have not been there.

“So we decided that a commercial film would be the best way to show the struggles of all these people. When I suggested the idea to Rajesh, he agreed and we have both been on our own journeys since, with me recounting the events as I remember and Rajesh doing his own research. It has been a huge challenge.”

Despite the content of the movie, she is quick to downplay any suggestion that Ente is for a mature audience alone. “I was very clear from the beginning that if we are doing a commercial movie, it should be made in such a way that anyone can watch it. Often people get lulled into this false sense of security that the women around us are safe, that nothing will ever happen to them. But everyone needs to watch the film to understand that this is not the case and that nobody is ever completely safe.

“That said, the movie itself, despite the subject material, has shaped up as more of a thriller. We wanted the appeal to come from that, instead of resorting to masala and skin show. Anyone can watch it without fear of trying to have a message thrust upon them. What you take away from the movie is up to you. We only hope it conveys the right message to people and influences their thinking in a positive way,” she says.

The production of a mainstream film with little external support has taken its toll on the couple, and Rajesh explains that making and distributing the film have been an ordeal in itself.

“We decided to make the movie in Malayalam and Telugu, and that in itself was a huge challenge. Also, shooting in some areas was a tense affair as we were not sure of the reaction we would get and had to resort to well rehearsed enactments while keeping cameras hidden from plain sight. It has been a tough journey, but it was all worth it to see the response we received after initial screenings, the love and support we got from the audience has been overwhelming.”

Both Sunitha and Rajesh are all praise for their cast, which also includes Lakshmi Menon, Nina Kurup and newcomer Warren Joseph among others. The music has been scored by Shantanu Moitra while Sharreth has composed three songs for the movie. The Telugu version is titled Naa Bangaaru Talli.