The film has been released as part of the Kerala Government’s ‘Chiri’ project, which stresses on mental and emotional health of minors
Amit Venugopal’s short film, Unheard… emphasises the importance of emotional health and mental well-being of children and teenagers through the story of Meenu and her elder brother Manu.
The director walks us through the narrative through Meenu’s voice notes to Manu, sent on WhatsApp from her mother’s phone. The mother rebukes Meenu for being on the phone and takes it away from her and the narrative unfolds as she scrolls up the voice notes.
Amit, a student at SCT College of Engineering, Thiruvananathapuram, has made the 4.27-minute short as part of ‘Chiri’, a “tele-counselling initiative” begun during the lockdown by the Kerala Government to look into the mental health of those below the age of 18. “My cousin, Rajika Kurup, a psychologist, is working in ‘Chiri’ and it was through her that I was able to associate with it. The film looks at the ripple effects of emotional meltdowns and deaths on children,” says Amit.
Focus on children
The 19-year-old, who is also the scenarist and editor of the film, adds that he looks at the situation from a child’s point of view because children tend to be ignored when there is a tragedy in the family. “They may not grasp the reality and have several questions about what is happening around them. It is that aspect that I have brought into the story. Here, Meenu is trying to figure out why her brother has disappeared from her life,” he says.
From the voice notes, viewers get an idea of Meenu’s family’s plight. The child wonders why her mother is grieving while her father isolates himself away from the family. She sees Manu’s framed photograph on the wall, next to her grandfather’s portrait and is confused and upset. However, Manu’s last message to his mother clearly conveys his disturbed state of mind and what he plans to do. Finally, the mother deletes the messages.
The film highlights how giving into emotional distress is not the solution to any problem but will only accentuate the turmoil and grief of the family.
This is his first work to be released on a public platform. Heal the Mind Foundation, which works in the field of psychology and mental health, also has associated with the project.
(Chiri Helpline Number: 9497900200)