When the Kerala film festival gave standing ovation to a real-life hero
The standing ovation and the selfies were an ode to the indomitable will of a school drop-out who settled for nothing less than justice despite all the odds stacked against her.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 08:27 IST
The audience at the ongoing International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) on Saturday gave a standing ovation to 70-year-old Prabhavati Amma and lined up to click selfies with her.
No, she is not an actor of the yesteryears, nor was she feted for producing or directing any chartbuster. Prabhavati is a simple mother who demonstrated extraordinary courage in her 13-year long fight against the powerful and the corrupt, responsible for her son’s custodial killing.
The standing ovation and the selfies were an ode to the indomitable will of a school drop-out who settled for nothing less than justice despite all the odds stacked against her.
The audience could appreciate the woman even more after having just finished watching a Marathi film--‘Mai Ghat: Crime No 103/2005-- inspired by her long legal fight. The film received rave reviews at the IFFK.
Prabhavati was herself emotional with her eyes welling up.
“I failed to understand the language. But I could feel they replicated bitter experiences I went through all these years,” she said after the movie.
Her son Udayakumar was sitting in a park in Thiruvananthpuram, when taken into custody by two police constables, who tortured him suspecting he had stolen Rs 4,000 that was found in his pocket.
He was let off after proving his innocence but was implicated in another case and tortured once again leading to his death just because he had dared to ask the cops to return his money.
“I faced enough threats and intimidation. Many advised me to not pursue the case. There were many attempts to weaken the case also. The entire police force was behind the accused. But I fought them valiantly for my son because no mother should undergo my plight,” she said.
Director Ananth Mahadevan said he came to know about Prabhavati’s story from a newspaper last year and had initially planned the film in Malayalam but switched to Marathi after failing to find a suitable producer.
He is thrilled by the reception the film got.
“Great, the film received much applause in an important festival. It is not an honour for me, but an honour to Prabhavati Amma and her long fight for justice.” The Kerala-born director and actor said.
Two serving police officers were awarded death sentence for Udaykumar’s custodial death last year.
“I lived all these years to hear the verdict. I hope verdicts like this will act as a deterrent against police brutality,” Prabhavati said.
Usha Jadhav plays the role of Prabhavati Amma in the film which has been shot in the rural areas of Sangli in Maharashtra.