Director: Vidhu Vincent / India / 2016 / 85 mins / Malayalam
Synopsis Shalini is the daughter of Ayya Swami, manual scavenger, and Pappathi who is a housemaid. She tries to hide her caste background to avoid social exclusion among her friends in the school. She tries to pressure her father to give up the work he is doing, but fails as his vocational options are circumscribed by his caste identity. Her father’s death in an accident while he was working in the manhole reveals her identity to her friends. She finds it hard to face social antipathy towards her because of her family’s social and caste background. After the death of her father, the burden of running the family falls on her mother. Shalini also starts to work in the local super market as a shop floor assistant. She manages to pass the entrance exam to do a graduate course in Law. Her friend Marimuth, also engaged in manual scavenging to support his studies, faces the same fate as her father while doing his final year. It shakes her faith in the course she has followed in life and she decides to fight against the no exit situation in which those engaged in scavenging are caught in.
Director Vidhu Vincent
Producer Vincent M P
Story, Screenplay Umesh Omanakuttan
Cinematographer Saji Kumar
Editor Appu Bhattathiri
Art Director Ajith Plakkadu
Music Director Sidhartha Pradeep
Sound Recordist Faizal Ahamed
Cast Rincy, Ravikumar, Shylaja, Suni, Baiju, Gouri, Saji Thulasidas, Mini
Director’s Profile Ms. Vidhu Vincent is a well known documentary maker and writer from Kerala. She has received many awards and critical acclamation for her documentaries. She is a journalist by profession. Manhole is the first movie she has directed.
Director’s Note: This is the first movie I have directed. I have waited for sometime to tell this story through camera images. I have made a documentary on the life of manual scavenges in Kerala in 2014 and the movie is based on it. My enquiry into the relationship between caste and work is the foundation of this movie. Life of women in such a society creates multiple layers of complexities and I hope I have tried to capture it comprehensively and aesthetically.