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Updated: October 22, 2011 17:16 IST

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Leena Manimekalai.
The Hindu
Leena Manimekalai.

Leena Manimekalai’s controversial “Sengadal: The Dead Sea” is the only Tamil film chosen for the Indian Panorama 2011

Leena Manimekalai was at MAMI's 13th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) when she heard the news that her feature, Sengadal: The Dead Sea, was chosen for Indian Panorama, 2011, at the International Film Festival of India. Sengadal was the only Indian film contending for the International Competition for the First Feature Film of the Directors at MFF. In IFFI, too, the film arrives with a distinction. It happens to be the only Tamil film chosen for the Indian Panorama, which is good news for a film that, for the longest time, was in the news for less celebratory reasons, primarily a prolonged battle to get a censor certificate.

Leena Manimekalai is understandably thrilled. “This is not a Tamil issue but a humanitarian issue, a national issue,” she says, of her film that exposes the plight of fishermen beset by the Sri Lankan navy. “If it saves one fisherman from the Sri Lankan navy's killing, that is a victory.” A smaller victory is also on the horizon. The director, so far, found alternative methods of distributing her documentaries. The selection to the Indian Panorama, she hopes, will help Sengadal gain a wider audience and further a political discourse.


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