‘Amaranth Live Life', a short film on the dreaded ‘C' word, propagates the idea that cancer should not steal one's happiness

It's short; it has no dialogues and has a child as the central character. Maybe something that does not appeal to all. But the short film, ‘Amaranth, Live Life,' made by Rejith Ramachandran, finds a permanent place in your heart and mind, once you see it. For there's a lofty purpose behind this film: to spread the good word that cancer need not spell doom. And it's not preachy either.

Beating negativity

The very word ‘cancer' makes you shudder. In that shudder lies the fear and hopelessness of the disease. But cancer need not be that fearful and is curable today, as many who have been through it know. The negativity that is associated with the disease pulls down morale so that the very word evokes this reaction. Doctors and activists are trying hard to overturn this notion.

Rejith Ramachandran, an engineer, fell in love with the visual media and wanted to do something worthwhile in that area, even as he worked in his field. That's when his friend's father died of cancer and he saw from close quarters the havoc the disease created and how common people viewed it.

He says, “Thanks to my close friends, my roommates, I combined this love for cinema with a cause and the result is ‘Amaranth, Live Life', a short film whose message is, ‘No one can steal your happiness, not even cancer'.

This 17-minute film features a little girl as the central character. Her mother is a doctor in a cancer institute and the child lives life full, with her naughty friends in school, running around the garden and visiting the patients in the cancer institute . It's a film without dialogues and the background score is not monotonous or funereal. It's not a silent movie, but the music and the situations have a universal appeal. Subtle moves, name boards and expressions easily get the message and story across to the viewer, without resorting to subtitles. “I believe that subtitles kill a movie,” says Rejith.

The script by Munjinad Padmakumar is tight, direction by Rejith Ramachandran shows great promise and cinematography by Sabu is a treat. Anikha, the child is one character you won't forget for a very long time. Her acting is almost natural and some emotions she portrays vie with an adult actor's. “Anikha appears shy when you meet her, but once in front of the camera, she is a totally different person. Tell her what you want and it's a professional whom you see,” a happy Rejith says of his lead character.

Sandhya Ramesh, who plays the doctor, displays a positive attitude throughout. The support extended by Unni Mukundan, cancer survivors Mamata Mohandas and Leela Menon, with a message from Kamal Hasan gives ‘Amaranth Live Life' a place all its own in the fight to alleviate the sufferings of cancer patients and also in its attempt to spread awareness about the fact that it's curable, if detected early.

Awards

“Our movie won an award at the Kazhcha Film Festival (short films), Pala. It also won awards at the Tele Fest-2012, organised by the ‘Film Guidance Society of Kerala' for the best script (Dr. Munjinad Padmakumar) and the ‘best movie for a social cause', Rejith says happily. Meanwhile, Anikha won the Best Child Artist Award at the News Eye Television Film Festival '12. The film has been screened in many places, like Hyderabad and Singapore, with help from Malayali associations. The film has been selected for the Shanthigiri Fest. It is a 50-day festival that began on April 12, which includes personal counselling for kids and grown ups.

‘Amaranth' was shot mostly in the Holy Cross hospice in Perumpadappu with actual cancer patients in some scenes, adds Rejith, who is working in Kochi and the activist in him wants more people to see the short film, especially in areas where the ‘C' word is hardly spoken about. Rejith can be contacted at 09995480123

Precocious Anikha

Her long hair and pleasant face, always with a smile, is what attracts your attention. Anikha displays a maturity well beyond her seven years. “Before the camera, she’s a thorough professional, says Rejith, who directed her in his short film, Amaranth, in which she plays the central character. Anikha started life as an actor when she was just one and a half years old, in Chotta Mumbai.

She played the role of Mamata’s daughter in Sathyan Anthikad’s movie, ‘Katha Thudarunnu’ and the Class 2 student of Choice School has signed a few more plum roles. She acts in Last Wish, an English film made by a desi and she has a good role in director K.N.Shashidharan’s (remember the wonderful movies that he made? Akkare, Kaanathaya Penkutty.. etc). Modelling is what takes a chunk of her time, with her father Surendran being a model coordinator. With about 35 ads behind her, she is more into the big screen stuff.

Which role did she really like best? All, the diplomatic young miss says, camouflaging the non-answer with that enigmatic smile.