The Odessa Movies, engaged in keeping alive the film culture that has come to be associated with the late filmmaker John Abraham, has launched work on its fifth film.
Titled Shadows of darkness, the focus of the documentary would be on human rights violations that were rampant during the 21 months of the Emergency when democratic rights remained suspended across the country and political dissenters were imprisoned.
C.V. Sathyan, director of Shadows of darkness, told The Hindu on Thursday that the timing of the launch of work on the documentary was significant—it coincided with the silver jubilee of the making of Amma Ariyan a film that bears the stamp of John Abraham and the first film from Odessa's stable.
It was in January, 25 years ago, that John Abraham began work on Amma Ariyan.
Mr. Sathyan also believes, by making this film on Emergency, he would be able to “give a jolt to the complacent mood that has gripped self-styled intellectuals in our State who have abandoned the anti-capitalist values that John cherished and still pretending to be his admirers”.
Like most John Abraham films and the other films by Odessa Movies, Shadows of darkness would also be a “people's cinema” in the sense that the cost of its production would be met from contributions from lovers of good cinema.
“Odessa's earlier films were also made with liberal contributions from ordinary film lovers–not with funds from industrialists or regular film producers, though they were ready with generous offers,” said Mr. Sathyan.
Odessa Movies had already made an impact in the world of films with its documentaries— Ithrayum Yathabhagam on the late poet A. Ayyappan; Vettayadappetta Manassu (the Haunted Mind), dealing with the guilt-scarred mind of the late Ramachandran Nair, the police constable who confessed to have gunned down Naxalite leader Varghese in Wayanad; and the Mortuary of Love, about “love, lust and sexual pervesions”.
Mr. Sathyan hopes to travel across the country to shoot the documentary since “scars of the Emergency rule can be more severe outside our State”. The shooting of the film began in Kochi, with a session featuring an interview with activist and former Supreme Court Judge V.R. Krishna Iyer.
“He showed great enthusiasm to talk about the subject…”, Mr. Sathyan said. The director has appealed to the public to help him with documents and anecdotes about the Emergency rule. He can be contacted on 9947694781.