Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ente: Human Trafficking Comes to Celluloid

Every second movie that comes out on any given Friday is based on a ‘real story’. It is a tag line that has been done to death and is passed off along with the disclaimer. So when social activist Sunita Krishnan, Founder General Secretary of Prajwala, dons the hat of a film producer and when her movie has a tag line ‘a never before told true story’, eyebrows are bound to rise. “I am aware that there is a chance for a prejudice that, since I am a social activist and Rajesh Touchriver is a filmmaker whose documentary films are famous, the film is also on those lines. However, Ente is far from that. Rajesh (Touchriver), while ensuring that the scenes are true to the real events, has made sure that its entertainment quotient is not lost. The promos for Ente are slick and it’s an edge-of-the-seat thriller.”
Ente produced by M S Rajesh and Sunita Krishnan and directed by Rajesh Touchriver is a story about human trafficking and stars veteran Malayalam actor Siddique and NSD product Anjali Patil (in pic above). Ente is a movie about human trafficking. “I’ve conducted many talks and done short films to get across the message of human trafficking. I have personally rescued more than 1,500 girls and each one is a story in itself. However, there was this one incident that really shook me. It had to be told.”
Sunita Krishnan, who is also the concept adviser for the film, calls Ente a ‘family thriller’. “Ente is not your usual masala thriller with stunts by the hero and item numbers at the silliest of pretext. It’s a movie you can go and watch with your family. In fact that is how one should go and watch this film. It deals with a story that can happen to anyone; to anyone’s sister, daughter or friend. Every man watching the movie could be the father, brother, husband or friend caught in such a situation. I want the movie to linger in the minds of the audience and slowly sink into each person long after they have left the theatre. They should realise that human trafficking is an evil that is prevalent in their midst. It is not this distant vice that until recently was considered to not happen in ‘our society’.”
Ente is slated for a December 21 release and is pitted against at least four other movies that release at the same time. “The number of screens in Kerala is coming down over the years while the number of movies releasing each year is on the rise. We’ve had a lot of difficulty in going about with the release and are still on it. So it’s a great thing that we are able to release the film during the Christmas holidays. It has all the elements of a mainstream thriller and with the brilliant performances of Siddique and Anjali Patil it can’t go wrong,” says a confident Sunita. It’s the same confidence that comes across when Siddique says, “These days it’s hard to judge any movie before it hits the theatres. Gone are those days when the outcome of a movie could be predicted. The audience are changing and Ente is a good and different movie. It is something that the Malayalam industry and audience have not seen till date.”
Ente, is a bilingual (in Telugu as Na Bangarru Talli) has music by Bollywood composer Shantanu Moitra (of Parineeta fame) and features a song by Shreya Ghosal, which by now is a hit in the social networking circuit.

'I have no Image'

Among the kaleidoscope of roles he has portrayed, we’ve seen Siddique as a comedian and we’ve seen him as a menacing villain. However, to quote the actor, in Ente he is doing a “life changing role”. “As an actor every role is challenging and different…but what stood out in Ente is a story. It’s the story of a father and daughter; a very caring father who in a moments time loses his daughter.”
A highlight of the movie is that scenes have been shot in locations where the real incident took place. “We went to real locations for shooting this film. There is a scene in a brothel and a lot of women there hurl abuses at the protagonist. Rajesh (Touchriver) has focused on small things and has shown them as real as possible. It was an entirely different experience.”

Sunita Krishnan, while agreeing that the role of the protagonist was initially offered to a senior actor, has no regrets now. “Things happen for a purpose. While the actor we approached was concerned about his ‘image’, I now can’t think of anyone other than Siddique for the role of the father. He has done a brilliant job and has done absolute justice to the character.”
When asked if he had apprehensions about the role and whether it would affect his image, Siddique was quick to reply: “I don’t have an image. I do all kinds of roles — both negative and positive. It’s superstars who are worried about their ‘image’.”
(An edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express on December 12)