Ten-year-old Arjun Menon turns filmmaker with his inspiring shortfilm that tells the story of the once scenic Perandoor Canal.
Its duration is five minutes and the shortfilm focuses on the plight of a highly polluted canal that flows through the heart of Kochi city. Posted in the video-sharing website YouTube, it has so far got approximately 1,000 hits.
However, rather than marketing his film, the director will be busy with his Std V lessons when school reopens next month.
Call for preservation
Ten-year-old S. Arjun Menon is already a celebrity of sorts in the neighbourhood and among his friends thanks to the film he shot in just two hours.
Inspired by Arjun's initiative, members of various organisations accompanied a children's delegation to Mayor Tony Chammany's office recently. They appealed for the revival of the Perandoor Canal, which is at the centre of the short film evocatively titled “Preserve the World for Us”.
He overheard a conversation between his mother Padmaja S. Menon and her friend Lekha on the glory days of the canal. This ignited a spark in his mind.
That the foul-smelling and highly polluted canal was once a scenic water body complete with lotus and crisscrossing country boats brought many images in his youthful mind.
Arjun's writing on the topic which he presented before his friends at the United Friends Club, an initiative of the Rotary Cochin Metropolis for children aged less than 10 years, was later developed into a three-page script. His mother Padmaja sent the script to many people on her mail list.
Impressed by the work, Hari Govind, a builder, volunteered to produce it. Armed with a hired camera, Arjun took up the twin responsibilities of direction and acting overnight.
His grandmother Dr. Vijaya Lakshmi Menon portrayed the only other character in the film.
The film progresses through a chat between a child and his grandmother during a summer vacation about the past glory of a now dirty canal.
In the course of the conversation, the child questions why the older generation could not bequeath a water body in pristine condition to the next generation. The film ends with the child returning after vacation and his grandmother asking him what he wants as a gift during the next visit. The child hands over a rolled sheet of paper.
As the child leaves, the grandmother opens the paper. The camera pans across the picture of a beautiful canal with a child and grandmother on its banks before zooming in on the words “Preserve the World For Us.” And there could not have been any better message.