A new Malayalam film titled “Thooppu” that tells the tale of child abuse in the background of churches has been selected for the Los Angeles Film Festival, said its director.
The 108-minute long film is the debut film of 33-year-old Sandeep Adhikari, who served as an assistant to ace director Priyadarshan in eight of his Bollywood films.
Adhikari told the media here on Saturday that the theme of the film came after numerous reports of child abuse surfaced in Kerala, with Christian priests turning the villain.
“The script of the film is by U.S.-based Rency Punnoose and the lead actor is played by Zane Shah, who has just finished learning acting from an acting school in the U.S.,” said Adhikari.
Elaborating on the story, he said the protagonist in the film (played by Shah) is a mentally challenged young man, fascinated with sweeping and cleaning, ends up being the cleaner of the local church.
The protagonist saves the life of a young girl from the advances made by the priest and in the fight that breaks out between the priest and Shah, the priest gets killed.
“Behind the sanctuary curtain lies dirt of different nature – dirt that no one would see, no one would talk about even when they see, no one would hear even when they talk. But obviously a mentally ill is at odds with the society,” said Adhikari, who added that the funds for the film was raised partly through crowd funding, with him also chipping in.
The film has received an A certification from the Censor Board and Adhikari is now concentrating on sending it to as many film festivals. He has also got an invite from the Dallas Film Festival.
Shah revealed to the media that in his young age he had also been subjected to abuse by a Muslim cleric.
“When I read the script, I realized what agony I underwent in my childhood. Even though I had disclosed about the abuse I underwent to my parents, long time back, after reading the script I told the people behind this film about it too,” said Shah.