Manhole deaths bring obscure Kannada film into spotlight

'Amaravathi' depicts the poor condition of sanitation workers

Manhole deaths bring obscure Kannada film into spotlight

The makers of Kannada film ‘Amaravathi’, which depicts the poor working conditions of sanitation and civic workers, hope the state government gets the message following the death of three manhole workers in Bengaluru.

The workers had asphyxiated while cleaning a manhole in CV Raman Nagar, east Bengaluru, on March 7. Commenting on the tragedy, the film’s director B M Giriraj said, “It is sad that civic agencies do not provide gloves, oxygen masks and other safety equipment to such workers. Even pourakarmikas (civic workers) work under similar conditions.”

Released on February 10, the film has been produced by Madhava Reddy. It gives a peek into the life of manhole workers and how pourakarmikas are harassed by garbage contractors. ‘Amaravathi’ also reflects on how these labourers are treated as social outcasts.

Surprisingly, the censor board restricted the exhibition of the critically acclaimed film citing the use of abusive language by some of the characters. “I was told by the censor board that the situation portrayed in the film is unrealistic. The film got ‘A’ certificate because of its language. Since most of the manhole workers are alcoholic, we tried to portray them as realistically as possible. It is the responsibility of the government to de-addict them,” Giriraj said.

The film revolves around the story of Chenna (played by Achyuth Kumar), the son of a sewage cleaner. He aspires to lead a better life, and how his mentor, a social reformer, encourages him to come out of the closet and follow his dreams forms the storyline. The harsh truths in the life of pourakarmikas striving to lead a dignified life and problems they face are also highlighted.

The makers of ‘Amaravathi’ plan to screen it in Bengaluru on Sunday as a tribute to the three manhole victims. They said the money from the screening would be given to the workers’ families.
 

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