In his 2009 film Swantham Lekhakan, Malayalam actor Dileep plays Unni Madhavan, a struggling newspaper journalist who misses out on the birth of his child in the race to get an exclusive.
When he wrote the short story on which the film is based, the scene must have seemed very plausible to Kavaloor Ravikumar. But even he could not have predicted just how uncannily the scene could play out in real life.
Cut to June 28, 2017 – Sahin Antony, a senior reporter with the Kochi bureau of Reporter TV, is camped outside the Aluva Police Club. Inside, actor Dileep has been brought in for questioning, regarding the abduction and alleged sexual assault of a leading actor in February.
Completing the scene is Maneesha, Sahin’s wife, who was admitted at a nearby hospital for the birth of their child.
"That was such an important news day for all of us and there was no chance that I couldnt have completed the work I was assigned. I had gone to the hospital with Maneesha and got her admitted that morning and stepped out. And then the police started questioning Dileep and it went on and on till 2 am," Sahin tells TNM.
When he left the hospital, Sahin says, he had promised to return to his wife’s bedside before she was wheeled away for the delivery. But by the time he wrapped up his report, Maneesha had already gone into labour, and Sahin had to wait nervously till their daughter was born early on Thursday morning.
Sahin says that while Maneesha was initially upset that he had been missing at the crucial moment, he managed to placate her.
Talking of the similarities to the scene from Swantham Lekhanan, which was first reported by a Malayalam portal, Sahin says, “Well, that's how the daily life of every journalist is, especially when you are reporting on such important cases. That night, the whole of Kerala stayed awake to know what might transpire. And although I kept assuring my wife that I was on my way, I knew it was going to be a long night."
Sahin got married to Maneesha, a practising advocate at the Kerala High Court, in August last year. The couple have named their new-born daughter Estha, which Sahin explains, means revolution.