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New Zealand-made Malayalam Movie: tackles taboo topic on sexual assault against minors


Pappa Movie Poster (Photo: Supplied)

Actors and crew of the Malayalam film Pappa were applauded at the end of the film’s premier last night (1 December 2022) in Sylvia Park Hoyts theatre. “Pappa is Aotearoa’s first Malayalam film (subtitled in English) shot primarily in New Zealand and boasts mainly of local cast and crew.

Review of the movie

The cast and crew of the movie started the premiere show with a cake cutting ceremony. (Photo: Indian Newslink)

The one-and-a-half-hour film has been carefully curated to convey a societal awareness message while dealing with the sensitive issue of sexual assault.

“Pappa” tells the story of a New Zealand Indian family. The film illustrates the agonising experience that a nuclear family goes through when some disturbing events disrupt their previously peaceful family life.

Shibu Andrews has written, directed, and filmed the movie. The writer deserves credit for addressing the sensitive and sometimes taboo subject of sexual assault against minors. Although the camera work may have been better, it was a commendable effort and an inspiration to local Indian filmmakers. Shibhu Andrews’ is known for his short film Karayunnengil Enthinnu which received the Kerala State Critics Award.

Anil Anto was impressive as the lead character Arun. Anto displayed some amazing acting skills. His expressions and voice projections were notable. Anto was a sure asset for the movie. Anil Anto’s experience acting in Malayalam films in India may have helped him deal with a character loaded with intense emotions. Anto is most known for his work in the Malayalam-language film Second Show (2012), starring Dulquer Salman, as well as for his role in the Mammootty-Fahad Faasil-Lal Jose film Immanuel. As of 2021, Anil has appeared in about 20 short films. He has received numerous Best Actor awards including the Port Blair International Film Festival and the Kalaburagi International Film awards.

Nyga Sanu plays Maria, the daughter of Arun and Liza. She, too, has carried out her character’s demands. Other notable performances include Rajesh (Vinosh Kumar Maheswaran), Danya (Sharon Saneesh), Akshaya (Liz’s younger version), and Saritha Rajeev (Liz’s mother).

Jayesh Stephen composed the music for three songs in the film. The songs sung by Naresh Iyer (National Award winner in 2006) and Sithara Krishnakumar (Kerala State Award winner in 2012, 2017, and 2021) were well composed. Re-recording was also effective.

The making of the film

Vinosh Kumar Maheswaran, who acted in and produced the film Pappa, described the group as “a passionate group of friends who have had experience working in the Malayalam film industry in India.” He added that “it was no easy feat bringing together artistes from different parts of New Zealand together, especially since all had other full-time jobs.”

Funding for the project

Vinosh, who works full-time at Middlemore Hospital, set up a significant portion of his monthly salary to produce the movie. He also had to rely on the help of friends to bring the project through to completion.

 Premier Shows in New Zealand

Hoyts Kiosk (Photo: Indian Newslink)

The premiere of “Pappa” took place in Auckland yesterday, December 1, 2022. The film is screened at Hoyts and Event cinemas. The film premieres in Hamilton today, December 2nd, followed by other cities around New Zealand the following week. The cast and crew invite the wider New Zealand community to support the film and watch it in the theatres.

Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Auckland.

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