LIFE

A contrary view

THIS DOCUMENTARY is not about pollution per se. It is about the public's reaction to it. At the very beginning of the film, `Karimukal' made by Manilal, the narration makes it explicit that it sides with the victims of pollution caused by Phillips Carbon Black Limited at Karimukal.

A screening of the film was organised by the Kerala Kalapeetom and Chavara Cultural Centre at the Chavara Cultural Centre on Wednesday. There were a handful of like-minded viewers, who could sense the pulse of the film.

The film progresses through statements of those living in the neighbourhood of the factory and culminating in the resolve to fight against the "oily carbon particles'' that seep into their homes, to unsettle their lives.

Given this stand, the documentary is one-sided. It does not give the version of the factory officials and their response to the issue.

There are recollections about a time when seeds sprouted softly from the fields. Later, only dead fish surfaced. Trees were weighed down by carbon dust on their leaves.

Images are there, like a buffalo limping along the banks; a little girl playing on the wasted grazing lands; people lined up in protest against the factory; folded fists; torches...

"There are no rebel films in Malayalam. Not after John Abraham. What I have tried through this film is to capture the mood of the public. The decision to join sides with the public was deliberate as there was no need to make a politically balanced film,'' Manilal is quite sure of his stand. As such, it is a pure propaganda film.

By Anand Haridas

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