The film ‘Ottal‘ was inspired by a photo that appeared in The Hindu during the Assam floods in August 2014.
A picture, we know, is worth a thousand words. A picture, sometimes, could also inspire a national-award winning film, such as this one. This photograph, taken by The Hindu’s Guwahati-based Special News Photographer Ritu Raj Konwar, was an inspiration for the Malayalam film Ottal , which won two National awards on Tuesday. The film, directed by Jayaraj, won the awards for the best environmental film and the best adapted screenplay. “The photo made a deep impression on me, and it haunted me; I wanted to use that very scene in my film,” Jayaraj told The Hindu on Tuesday. “I was able to connect this beautiful picture with Anton Chekhov’s short story ‘Vanka’; I had been wanting to adapt it for a film for a long time. It was this photo in The Hindu that inspired me to make Ottal the way I did.”
Konwar had clicked the picture during the Assam floods last August at Morigaon district. Jayaraj had called him up and asked him if it was possible to locate the boy in the picture. “I want to help that boy in any way possible,” Jayaraj said.