Teacher as director, students as actors, school the setting and nature the story. Thus was canned Thottavadi (touch me not), a short film produced by Signature Creations under a collective led by Faizal Korangode, schoolteacher.
The film has a message for schoolchildren — observe nature and learn from its infinite wonders.
“It is an attempt to make schoolchildren appreciate the delicate beauty and infinite variety of nature, in so doing triggering their creativity,” says Faizal, who feels that film is the right medium to convey a message to the new generation.
Thottavadi is the story of a boy, Abi Ahamed, who is sensitive towards nature and fascinated by its intricate wonders. From a small classroom experiment in a test-tube showing how kerosene remains insoluble in water to the shrinking of the touch-me-not plant on touch, everything captivates him.
But neither his classmates nor teachers understand his passion for nature, making him depressed and lonely.
He finds solace in collecting “valuables” from nature, such as feathers, beads, seeds and bangle-bits, which later win his school accolades in the science exhibition.
Abi’s teacher fails to return his precious articles to him by negligence, which leads to the sad end of the film reminding the viewers that each item in a collection is a bunch of irreplaceable memories.
The actors are from schools, including Faizal’s, in Ramanattukara and Feroke panchayat areas.
Hunt for actors
The team launched a drive to hunt talented students with a yen for acting and 50 students from seven schools were identified, from which the best were selected.
The director has captured the ambience of a village school.
Notwithstanding the stiffness in acting and dialogue delivery, besides a few forgivable follies, Thottavadi is a creditable attempt for a small collective, which has made use of the medium in a brilliant way for a worthy cause.
This is the third film venture of Faizal, whose earlier work Akam was well appreciated in the ALA short-film festival recently.