May 1, 2011
School of Arts & Sciences, Amritapuri
In Kerala, sale of liquor brings in more revenue for the government than even petrol or diesel. The state-run Beverages Corporation is the only wholesale supplier of liquor in the state.
A powerful commentary on government policies that promote liquor shops in lieu of educational institutions, the short film SchoolBar made by Amrita student Maratt L. T. makes a lasting impression on viewers.
No wonder then, that it has won many accolades at film festivals across the state. In January 2011, it was selected as the Best Film at an International Short Film Festival, jointly organized by Kerala Chalachitra Academy and Panchajanyam Film Society.
In March 2011, the film was screened as the Best Campus Film in a film fest organized by Novartis College of Engineering, Perumon.
The film also received rave reviews at the Astral Tech Fest organized by Sree Buddha College of Engineering, also in March 2011.
Maratt directed and wrote the screenplay for the ten-minute film. A child, looking forward to returning to his school, after his vacation, meanders through the countryside pathways, only to find that his school no longer is, where it used to be.
The building is there, but not his classmates or teachers. Instead, hangs an ominous sign, proclaiming that a liquor shop will soon open in the premises.
The film ends with the distraught child taking to petty jobs. Education was his ticket to escaping the world of poverty and conquering the world of knowledge. Now, he is robbed on all options.
Maratt was inspired by a poem written by the famous Malayalam poet Kureeppuzha Sreekumar. The short film SchoolBar is based on the first four lines of the poem.
“Film making is my passion,” shared the first-year student of M.Sc. (CS) of the Amritapuri campus.
Besides SchoolBar, Maratt has made several socially relevant short films that have also garnered many awards in platforms such as Kerala State Children Film Fest, SOMS Film Fest and BIMS Film Fest. In 2009, he was the winner of Solidarity Youth Award.
“I believe that a film should convey some valuable message for society,” Maratt opined.
How does he find the time to work on films when attending school full-time?
“I somehow manage by studying at nights. Moreover, my family members and friends have been very supportive. They have provided emotional and financial support to help me accomplish my goals.”