Published: 17th February 2021
Anto Vincent's short film is a conversation between two students — a cis-man and a transwoman — that redefines fraternity. Check it out
How long does it take to explain the true meaning of fraternity? Just three minutes, according to Anto Vincent. We find out
What do you mean by fraternity? — the nameless transwoman character asks the other character. Him, a cis-man, shudders and stutters. Finally, he gathers a wee bit of confidence and says, "It's the concept of harmonising people with different religious beliefs," as he prepares for a seminar on 'fraternity'. She is clearly not convinced. Keeping calm, she poses yet another question. "What if religion did not exist? Do you think there will be events of this kind?" We won't tell you what his answer was to this question because that would probably be a major spoiler to Anto Vincent's three-minute-long titleless short film.
A first-year MA Cinema and Television student of Sacred Heart College, Kochi, Anto's film, which has gained a lot of popularity online, was released on February 10, a few days after International Day of Human Fraternity. "This project was conceptualised in a jiffy," Anto admits. "On February 3, the students of our batch were asked to create a film project to commemorate International Day of Human Fraternity. It had to be submitted the next day. We shot it in a few hours," he says. Anto, for one, does not believe that the term fraternity must be used only while talking about religion. "Ours is a world of differences. We have people belonging to different genders and sexes, caste and creed. So why don't we celebrate all the differences and live in harmony?" he asks.
We have already told you a little about the conversation between the two people in this film. They are the only characters featured here, except for another cis-woman student, who frowns and moves away from the transwoman. The protagonist's role is essayed by Nadira Mehrin, a transwoman. In 2019, she was the first transgender person to enrol for a master's degree under the Kerala government's transgender quota. She is currently a final-year MA student of University College, Thiruvananthapuram. "I had met Nadira a year ago at a theatre fest. When I presented the idea of this film, she was instantly on board," says Anto. "She herself would have witnessed similar frowns many times in her life," he adds. Anto plays the character with whom Nadira has a conversation.
Even though the film has been receiving largely positive responses, Anto says that there has been criticism too. He is not surprised though. "This is not a subject that everyone around us will like," he says. "Apart from that, I was told to improve the technicalities. I will try to work on it. This was a quick project. It all came out well only because the cinematographer Joe Joseph captured the shots well. Also, my college was quite supportive and extended the submission deadline by a few days," he says.
Watch it here: