Chewing Gum, directed by debutant Praveen M. Sukumaran, is a love story that also deals with the lives of migrant labourers

Chewing Gum, the debut directorial venture of Praveen M. Sukumaran, is a love story that unfolds amidst the backdrop of migrant labourers. Dinu, played by Sunny Wayne, a welder in a village, falls in love with Violet (Thinkal Bhal), a member of an NGO that works with migrant labourers. They meet when she comes to the village to spend her vacation.

Dinu then travels to the city and works there. “Violet captures her personal moments with Dinu on her handy-cam and the story develops through these video diaries. The exchanges of these personal diaries play an important role in the narrative. The life and struggles of labourers from states such as West Bengal and Bihar form a backdrop to their intense romance,” Praveen says. Dinu then moves to Dubai to earn more. When they meet after three years, these video diaries play a crucial role. Praveen says that the love story has been inspired by a real-life romance.

The title is synonymous with exploitation, especially in the case of migrant labourers. “You chew the gum and spit out the remains. It is the same with these labourers. They are exploited for their cheap and skilled labour, but their issues are never addressed,” says Praveen who has scripted the movie.

Praveen is an alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, where he studied script writing, and of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), from where he did his post-graduate diploma in direction. His short film, Charithram, was screened at the International Short Film Festival of Moscow and the International Film Festival of India. Chewing Gum has alumni and students of FTII and SRFTI in its crew. This includes Sakya Deb Choudhury (cinematographer), Renjith Kuzhur (editor) and Ajayan Adat (sound recordist). Music is by Jonathan Bruce, a long-time assistant of Jassie Gift.

Sunny Wayne’s Dinu is his first full-length lead character. Thinkal, though a newcomer in tinsel town, has been a television anchor and regular face on fashion ramps. Baiju Ezhupunna, M.R. Gopakumar and Chinju Mohan play important roles in this movie produced by Sudheer M. Sukumaran under the banner Think Cinema. The movie is slated to release by the end of April.