Rarely does a day pass in Kerala before we are told that yet another farmer has committed suicide. Over 1,500 farmers are estimated to have ended their own lives in the last five years. Farmers committing suicide because of debt is perhaps the biggest social problem Kerala is facing today.

A group of Kozhikode-based dentists are hoping to prevent at least a few more suicides through a short film, Karshakan, which will be premiered at the Press Club in Kozhikode on Saturday.

The 22-minute film is conceived and produced by the Government Dental College, Calicut, Alumni Association, under the banner of Smile Kfraft. Most of the technical crew and artistes of the film are dentists.

"We will be screening the film shortly in Wayanad, the district which has suffered most," says Binu Purushothaman, who has scripted the film. "A year and a half ago, we had planned to make a film to mark the 25th anniversary of the college. At that time, we were thinking of producing just another campus film."

Then Binu, who passed out of the Government Dental College, Kozhikode, in 2001, and his friends thought of making a film that would be socially relevant.

"I have a practice in Wayanad and have met many patients from the families of farmers," he says.

The film is directed by P.K. Baburaj, who has to his credit a feature film and many telefilms and serials. It is about Chandran (Sajeevan), his wife Kamala (Shobha P. Kumar) and their two young daughters. When a natural calamity destroys his farm, Chandran decides to commit suicide, as he sees no way to pay back the loans he took from banks and private financiers, but he is also aware that his family will have to pay a heavy price for his death.

"What we are trying to tell through this film is that a farmer's suicide could destroy his family as well," says Binu. "He may not have to face his creditors any more, but his family will have to face a host of problems."

Binu is planning to screen the film on a television channel. "We are also trying to screen it at as many places as possible," he says.

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

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