The film will be based on the life of the Latvian tourist who was assaulted and killed in Kerala, months ago.

Her partner inspired me says director making film on Latvian woman killed in Kerala
news Crime Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 08:31

It was 2 am. Dark. A little known terrain in Thiruvananthapuram. But Andrew Jordan kept running, climbing, not waiting for the others with him. As if a force was pulling him, he went to an empty building and began knocking the door.

“Are you in there?” Andrew shouted, calling out his partner's name. He then lay down and tried to peek through the small gap under the locked door. “Please speak up,” he shouted desperately. The others watched in shock. This Irish man, who knew nothing about this place, was running around and knocking doors frantically. Viju Varma, a filmmaker, was among the men who went along with Andrew for this late night search. He looked at his foreigner friend and understood the emotion. He would, days later, decide to make a film about Andrew and his partner.

The victim's name had even then been known to people in Kerala. The Latvian woman who went missing on a day she took an auto rickshaw to Kovalam beach. She and her sister Ilze had come to Thiruvananthapuram for an Ayurvedic treatment. She was suffering from depression.

And then her body was found. She was raped, murdered. Andrew’s search was over.

“He said he can take it if he knew she died. But not knowing that, wondering if she was still suffering somewhere, without water and food - that he couldn’t bear,” says Viju. His film would have everything that they experienced – Andrew, his partner, and the people who tried to help them.

Andrew with Viju and his family

“I first come across the missing woman through a video that I saw in a WhatsApp group. A few of us had formed a group called ‘We can help’ to come to the aid of poor patients. And then my friend Sunith who works for Doordarshan sent this video of posters of a missing woman. We saw photos of two helpless foreigners – a sister and a partner – trying to find their loved one in an unknown land,” Viju says.

He called on the numbers given on the posters. They met in the city. “I have to say that initially their complaint was not properly addressed. Yes, the Pothencode SI took them to Tamil Nadu when a decayed body was found there. A Vizhinjam police officer came along to search in Kovalam. But there were problems, there was some negligence.”

Andrew got increasingly frustrated. He and his partner were living together, not legally married. So for any communication, the police contacted Ilze. Not Andrew. “But the intensity of their relationship goes beyond anything an official bondage could give. Even when the sister left, Andrew stayed behind. It is his passion that inspired me to take a film.”

The film will be a bilingual, in English and Malayalam. Andrew is helping him with the script. Andrew will also play himself. “But it won’t be a documentary. There will be some fiction. It is not just their story. I thought of my wife and child. Imagine coming to a foreign place where you don’t know anyone, and then someone so close to you goes missing there. Many such incidents happen. In Goa alone, there are so many such cases. And Andrew had gone there to help someone. He said he is dedicating his life to this cause.”

Viju, who studied direction at the School of Drama, began his work in theatre. He then made a number of documentaries before writing and co-directing the feature film Mankolangal. In 2014, he directed the film Odum Raja Aadum Raja on the rights of transgender people, and how the community is marginalised in society.

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