On top of the page now is a video recording of Henna Malayil. The Class 5 student is singing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’. Her father Ummer Malayil had gone live on Facebook when she sang on stage. The comments below the video laud her.
Four days ago, it was not the same story. Ummer, who hails from Pattambi, Kerala, had written a short post about his daughter, with a photo of her wearing a chandana pottu. He wrote that his little girl had been expelled from the madrassa she went to. All because she had acted in a short film wearing the costume shown in the photo.
“She is good in her studies as well as in music, elocution and acting. She comes first in her class, both at her school and at the madrassa. She has proved her talent at the sub district and district levels. She was the fifth rank holder for the fifth grade exam at the madrassa,” Ummer writes in Malayalam.
And yet she had been expelled, he adds. “It’s lucky they didn’t throw stones to kill us.”
Ummer’s post was not taken kindly. Many commenters descended, rebuking Ummer. She should not be sent to a madrassa if she wants to act, it’s religion that’s taught there, some wrote. Some others went further and wrote very abusive comments. A few showed support too.
Ummer is now in talks with the madrassa and does not wish to talk about the matter. “But you can write a story based on my post and the comments that it received. It is communal madness,” he says on a phone call.
Ummer’s friend Noorul Eman, who is making the short film Daksha for which Henna wore the pottu, is equally upset.
“She’s a very talented little girl. As good in academics as she is in music and acting. But she has been expelled for acting in my film. The mahallu (prayer centre) had a problem,” he tells TNM.
Now they are trying to reach a compromise, Noorul says. “But only the first schedule of the film is over now. Another schedule is yet to be shot.” But he believes there would be no problem in completing the film.