Watch: Grace Antony’s short film on menstruation takes a humorous approach

The model and actor known for her performance in ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ turns director with this short film titled ‘K-nowledge’.
Still from K-nowledge
Still from K-nowledge
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The powder slapped between her hands is too much. Ahina lets it fall with a who-cares gesture and hears her mother’s warning from another room. She is going to be late for school. Murmuring that mom shows more love to her brother, the young girl in red and white uniform cycles to her school as some peppy music plays in the background.

When a short film begins in this manner, with the slightest of gestures taken care of – a quick look at the clock for the girl to say there is still five minutes left for school time, an embarrassed silence when the mother walks in on the whining girl – you know the filmmaker comes with skill. But the filmmaker as well as her skilled child actors are all doing a first of sorts. Grace Antony, the model and actor who was much appreciated for her performance in Kumbalangi Nights, has directed the Malayalam short titled K-nowledge.

The film, taking a very adorable and humorous approach towards a very serious issue, was written much before. “It was only something I wrote, and I do write scripts. But I never thought I’d become a director. It was producer Aby Tom Cyriac who said I should direct it as well,” says Grace, excited about all the glowing praise coming for the film, from people in the industry and outside.

Grace Antony

The issue she addresses, unanticipated after the tension-free first half, is how girls are often unprepared and unaware of menstruation and think the worst when they get their first period at a tender age.

“It’s happened to me, it’s happened to my friends. When I showed the story to them, many friends spoke of similar experiences. There’ve been shocking ones, like how one of them attempted suicide thinking she’s got some terrible disease but was too young to know how to take one’s life. In my case, I thought I had cancer, much like Ahina does in the film,” says Grace.

Ahina and another girl Malu became the two main actors of Grace’s film. They are both her cousins and were trained for two weeks for their parts. “The girls were luckily aware of menstruation; their mothers have told them about it. My mother said ‘sorry di’ when I told her about this. It’s a serious issue. Our mothers should keep their shyness aside and tell their daughters about menstruation,” Grace says.

Grace with Ahina and Malu

Grace has used a light-hearted approach so that the film will reach children more easily. “When you use a serious approach, it may not connect with children and it is very important that this issue reaches them. After the film came out, I got a lot of messages from people narrating similar experiences from their childhood. Someone said she was at a convent when she got her first period and she was afraid to tell the nuns in case they threw her out,” Grace says.

Niranjana Anoop, another young actor and Grace’s friend, also plays a part in the film, which was half shot before the COVID-19 lockdown. The rest – all indoors – was shot when filming was allowed with restrictions.


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