Arikil, a short film on room quarantine, winning hearts

A six-year-old, holding a piece of paper, eagerly awaits her dad’s return from abroad along with her mother and grandparents. Excited on his arrival, the little girl ensures all the points written on the paper are followed by her dad and family. As soon as he enters she says, “Go straight to your room.” Starring actor Sunny Wayne as the father, Arikil—a short film made by the Ernakulam District Administration in Kerala, explains the guidelines to be followed when undergoing home quarantine.

The heart-warming short film is created keeping in mind the large number of NRK (Non-resident Keralites) returning to the state. “The Indian Medical Association (IMA) Kerala approached me to creating a video featuring movie stars explaining the importance of home quarantine,” shares director of the film Amruth Raj and adds, “It was our idea to create a narrative short film based on the IMA directives featuring a well-known actor.”

The six-minute film beautifully captures not only the emotions of the family meeting a member after a long time but also factors in the basic nuances of guidelines that have to be followed. “IMA has a 25 point guideline for home quarantine. We created a script based on those points and ensured that the purpose of the video does not get lost, at the same time, we also ensured that the narrative has a strong emotional connect with the audience,” explains Raj.

Adding to it, Aaron Mathew, founder, Bun Omelette Production states, “The narrative revolves around the return of an expatriate and the arrangements made at his house for his quarantine. Getting one’s priorities right during the COVID-19 pandemic is the underlying theme of the film. The film tries to capture the sentiments of each family member when they see their loved one after a long time.”

The film explains simple steps to keep in mind while in home quarantine. Mathew says, “We ensured that the film emphasises the importance of social distancing especially when a family has elderly and children at home. Simple points like the family welcoming from a distance, the man takes off his shoes keeping them inside a plastic bag, and washes his hands with soap and water kept at the gate, where kept in mind while writing the script.”

Talking about the shooting process and selection of cast, Raj says, “Since it was a Government project there was budget constraints but all the actors and crew members were forthcoming to work as it was for a good cause. We worked with limited resources as we had to follow strict social distancing norms. We did not have a budget for make-up and costume. Actors wore clothes from their wardrobe for the shoot.” He shared that actor Sunny Wayne chose his clothes from his personal wardrobe to match the colour palette of the film and the film was shot in a day’s time.

The short film was released by Mohanlal and was later shared by Dulquer Salmaan  on his Instagram page. So far the video has garnered over 1.5 million views. “The response has been amazing. We are thankful to people for liking our efforts and we hope that the message reaches the maximum number of people,” signs off Raj.

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