Ask a college-going student about his/her worst nightmare, the reply would be to come up with ideas for projects, get them approved and to finish them on time. The initial steps usually take ages and it is just a day before the submission date that students actually take their project work serious. However, the final-year BSc Nursing students of Kottayam Medical College have set a benchmark for all the college students who are supposed to come up with projects that help people at large. Rather than opting for clichéd presentations or flash mob, the students decided to shoot a documentary as part of their obstetrics and gynecology project. The thought behind it, however, was not just to complete a project and get it over with. They wanted the message embedded in the documentary to reach people.
The students therefore planned to make a short film on the topic and one of the students approached Amal Thomas to direct it for them.
The short film First Cry that has received around 40,000 views in just three days after its release is based on antenatal care and infertility treatment, and aims to bust many myths about various inborn ailments. It has received praises from prominent movie directors like Kamal and Anjali Menon. Director Amal Joy, who is a bank employee and a huge cinema fanatic, says that it was the noble intention of the students behind making the short film that persuaded him to direct it. “One of my cousins is also a final year nursing student who was the part of the group that decided to make a short film based on the subject. It would give it more reachability than a documentary. I readily approved to take it up, but we had many constraints with regards to making the film because we couldn’t work in a proper shooting mode where we had a script and actors ready.
We also did not have the luxury of taking as many days to complete the scenes because those who appear in the short film are all students and not professional actors. The students were not allowed to bunk their classes for the sake of shooting a short film. As a result of immense efforts from the part of the students and support from two of their faculty members, we were able to complete the shoot in mere 27 hours. I would say
I was amazed to see how professional the students were,” says Amal, adding that the team associated with the short film that comprises his friends was surprised to see the sincerity with which the students were indulged in the making of First Cry.
Ask him if he was anxious about being criticised for taking up this project, Amal says that his team is committed to cinema as an art form, which reflects the society and environment in which we live. He attributes the success of First Cry to its realistic approach. “I feel that the genuine portrayal of the real life situations makes the short film stand apart.” The success of First Cry has found Amal and his friends a producer for their debut feature film, on which they have been working for the past three years....