‘Centrifugal’, the story of a woman’s life from birth to death in one minute

The film in Malayalam is directed by Adithya Patel, and scripted by Hena Chandran, his mother.
Still from 'Centrifugal'
Still from 'Centrifugal'
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About ten seconds before the film ends, it turns into colour. A girl in yellow capris is hurriedly climbing a fence and then a tree. A woman's voice can be heard in the background. "She's climbed the tree again," she says, laughing. "Let her climb," says a man. That's where the film –– all of one minute –– ends. Centrifugal in a matter of a single minute has managed to tell a very moving and real tale of the life of a woman from birth to death, with a few sequences in black and white and then one in colour, all showing only the lower legs of the actors.

The film, in Malayalam, made as part of a college project, is cinematographed, edited and directed by Adithya Patel. His mother Hena Chandran gave him the concept and the script.

"He asked for an idea that can be filmed in a minute. There were only 10 to 12 days to shoot. When we thought of shooting a woman's life from the moment of birth, we knew the face was not important. It could be the story of any woman," says Hena, who has done her PhD in Malayalam and has been indulging in some scriptwriting for friends for a while.

Hena and Adithya

The family is in Irinjalakuda, Thrissur. Adithya is a student of Jain University in Bengaluru. The script that mom and son developed, begins with the toes of two feet tied together, a woman who has just died. In a second you go back to the time of her birth, two baby feet having replaced the old woman's feet. And someone can be heard saying, "Oh, it's a girl?" sounding disappointed.

In the next sequence, the baby has grown a little and a toddler's feet are running in the yard, the girl is playing. But the voices in the background are again disapproving. They rebuke her when she grows a little more and begins to climb a tree. A man –– her father –– makes her come down. As a young woman, wearing salwar, her legs climb up the steps to her home as the father tells her off for coming home late. At the same moment you hear a young man's voice say he is leaving the house. Subtle expressions as these, making strong points about gender discrimination, keep coming through in Adithya's film.

There is no respite for the woman even as a grownup –– told off by a husband, and then a son, to live with the restrictions they have put on her.

"We have made it with eight sequences in all, avoided the longer dialogues and made it crisp," says Hena. The film has won a lot of appreciation online. 

Watch the film:

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