June 13, 2024

Reminiscing their grandmothers, Kenyan student produces Tamil short film ‘Thanimai’ with classmate on lonely senior citizens


KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Companionship is crucial for everyone, especially for the elderly spending their golden years away from their children.

Sitiawan-born Veronica Anne witnessed the lonely life led by her grandmother and whenever she dropped by to visit, her grandmother would pour her heart out to her.

Likewise, her classmate, Naomi Kakuvi Musau, saw the elderly grappling with the same plight back in her hometown in Kenya.

Now, the two aspiring filmmakers are working on Thanimai, a Tamil short film that sheds light on the often-overlooked subject.

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Thanimai follows the story of an elderly Indian widow who builds a friendship with a Grab driver as she prepares to commemorate her husband’s death anniversary.

Both Veronica and Naomi, who are currently pursuing cinematic arts at Multimedia University in Cyberjaya, will also present the short film as their final year project.

Speaking to Malay Mail, Naomi recalled how senior citizens living alone in Kenya are usually cared for by voluntary caregivers or their kind-hearted neighbours.

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“Few years ago, one of my grandmother’s neighbours moved in with her after her husband passed away to take care of my grandmother.

“She did it willingly without expecting anything in return,” Naomi recalled.

Naomi Kakuvi Musau is the producer of ‘Thanimai’ and recently secured a RM5,000 grant from the Krishen Jit Fund for the project. — Picture courtesy of Naomi Kakuvi Musau

In December last year, Naomi also secured a RM5,000 grant from the prestigious Krishen Jit Fund for the short film.

The grant, she said, would allow them to hire a music composer and cover post-production as well as marketing costs since they plan to submit Thanimai to film festivals.

Having experienced the Indian culture first-hand in Kenya, Naomi enjoyed the process of researching and learning about Indian customs for the short film.

“We have a huge Indian population in Kenya, especially in Nairobi.

“I find them to be a very welcoming community who are eager to share everything about their culture, from their vibrant colours to exquisite designs,” she said.

Meanwhile, Veronica said filial piety is emphasised strongly in both the Indian and Kenyan cultures.

Veronica Anne says she is directing 'Thanimai' to encourage young adults to check-in with their old parents or grandparents. — Picture courtesy of Naomi Kakuvi Musau

Veronica Anne says she is directing ‘Thanimai’ to encourage young adults to check-in with their old parents or grandparents. — Picture courtesy of Naomi Kakuvi Musau

She also hopes that Thanimai will move her audience to reconnect with their family members and take a genuine interest in their lives.

“After watching the film, they should immediately grab their mobile and call their parents or grandparents to check in on them. For me, that will be Thanimai’s biggest success,” she said.



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