By Shevlin Sebastian
Photos: Shyamaprasad. Pic by Ratheesh Sundaram; Manju Warrier
“99 women are sexually abused in India every single day,” says actor Manju Warrier. “However, in Kerala, it is one-and-a-half times the national average.” Manju was providing the commentary for the six-minute film, ‘Freedom From Fear’, which has been made by the Mollywood director Shyamaprasad.
It details the story of 23-year-old Ajitha, who works in a bank as a junior officer. Her reserve and aloofness prompts colleagues to do an online search. It is then discovered that she had been a rape victim during her college days.
“A woman’s world is turned upside down when she is abused sexually,” says Manju, who speaks with emphasis and strength, and yet with a residue of anger.
The film details how Ajitha is finally able to overcome her trauma through counselling, the support of the bank manager, as well as her family.
‘Freedom From Fear’ has been brought out by the NGO Bodhini, in association with the Rotary Club of Cochin Metropolis. And it has been sponsored by the Federal Bank. The movie was released by Justice Jayshankar Nambiar at a function in Kochi recently.
“Any change that we need to bring in society has to be done through the elite,” says the judge. “And that's what Rotarians are. They are leaders of society. If the message is spread by them into society, the people who look up at them, as their leaders, will follow them.”
Meanwhile, Shyamaprasad said, “Whenever I make a fiction film, people ask me for a message. It is difficult to answer such a question. That is why I feel happy to do a documentary where I can convey a message. This is my third film and it has been a great process.”
Earlier, Reena Sabin of Bodhini spoke about the mission of the NGO, which is a movement against child sex abuse and violence against women. Bodhini representative Blaise C. spoke about the dangers of using the social media, especially for children, while Dr. Sabin Viswanath, managing trustee of the NGO, gave the introductory remarks.
(The New Indian Express, State editions)