The actor is making a comeback to the Malayalam film industry after five years.

Bhavana in a red sari sits, her hair losely tied, and she is looking awayInstagram / Bhavz Menon
Flix Mollywood Monday, June 20, 2022 - 19:46

Bhavana, Sharaf U Dheen and Anarkali Nazar will act in a new feature film titled Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu (My big brother had a love affair). The film will have an Internal Committee (IC) to address workplace sexual harassment complaints on set. Bhavana is making a comeback to the Malayalam film industry after five years. A survivor of sexual assault and fighting her case for the past five years, Bhavana is setting a strong example by coming back to work in a film which has a mechanism to address sexual harassment complaints.

The film is directed by a debutant, Adhil Maimoonath Asharaf, and shooting has begun in Kodungalloor in Kerala. Adhil has also scripted the film and will do the editing as well. The film’s cinematography will be done by Arun Rushdie and the art direction by Midhun Chalissery. Apart from the three key actors, Shebin Benson and Ashokan will also play important roles.

The producers of the movie have set up three different teams to deal with complaints and suggestions to deal with sexual harassment complaints. This includes a team for workplace harassment, one for general complaints and a third for suggestions, headed by Advocate Noorjehan KM (work place harassment), and production controller Alex E Kurian (general complaints and suggestions). The filmmakers have also issued a code of conduct and an IC flowchart describing the process to lodge a complaint. 

The IC will take both complaints and suggestions which will be forwarded to the respective committees (workplace harassment and general complaints). These will be acknowledged within 24 hours. The complaints will be investigated by the respective teams and then a review will be done of the investigation. If the complainant is happy with the resolution, the case is closed. Otherwise, it will be handed over to external legal bodies. 

The other document on the code of conduct is to be read and understood by all members of the cast and crew. It details what accounts as sexual harassment - subjectinf anyone to an unwelcoming sexually determined behaviour, presence or occurrence of circumstance of implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment, etc.

Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu — a wordplay on Basheer’s famous novel Ntuppuppaakkoranendaarnu (my grandpa had an elephant) — is being produced by Renish Abdulkhader under the banner of Bonhomie Entertainments in association with Rajesh Krishna's banner London Talkies. 

In an interview that Bhavana gave TNM in April this year, she spoke about the offers she had been getting from the industry in the past few years. But she had not been ready to return to the Malayalam film industry until now, she said. “I actually don’t know why I wanted to stay away, I cannot define or pinpoint that feeling. I felt that I was away from Kerala, living a peaceful life in Bengaluru. Going back on the sets, maybe I felt it will start new discussions,” Bhavana said then.

Read: Fighting back without a support system is unimaginable: Actor Bhavana interview

Quite a few films in Malayalam have been announced recently with the inclusion of an IC. Director Senna Hegde’s 1744 White Alto, produced by Kabinii Films, formed an IC as soon as the film was launched earlier this year. Much before that the Uyare team – who produced the film in 2019 – had an IC. Director Aashiq Abu said his films have had ICs from the time of Virus, a film which came out in 2019.

Read: Tackling sexual harassment on Malayalam movie sets, what filmmakers say

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