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Sengadal

Sengadal (The Dead Sea) is a 2011 Indian Tamil-language independent film written and directed by Leena Manimekalai, who makes her directing debut and stars in the film. Produced by Janaki Sivakumar, the film features cinematography by M. J. Radhakrishnan and editing by Sreekar Prasad. The film was initially banned by Regional Censor Board, but Appellate Tribunal Authorities at New Delhi, CBFC had cleared the film in July 2011 after legal struggle. Sengadal was part of Indian Panorama after the censor board cleared the certificate.

Plot

On the Indian mainland, across the waters, arrive the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, an unending stream of people dispossessed of their lands and Gods, to an uncertain future with ever receding hopes of return. Dhanushkodi, the Indo-Sri Lankan border town, is the crucible wherein History is brewing this concoction of defeated lives and exhausted dreams. Hope is a big word and resistance but a tired expression. Three decades of struggle for a nation is washed out, a race obliterated. For, there is no one fighting their war back home now. Heroic images have turned to dust. The bunkers run with the wasted blood. Smoke rises from heaps of putrid flesh. Unwanted lives rot away in barbed wire human zoos. The misery spills over to the Indian shore. Fishermen fishing in fear in ignorance of friendly and enemy waters get dumped as rebels, spies and smugglers and unceremoniously beaten to death or shot or maimed. Yet, each morning sees their boats launched once again to the sea as the sea is their motherland and the language of fish their mother tongue. Manimekalai, the filmmaker, Munusamy, the fisherman, Rosemary, the social worker in Jesuit Christian Refugee Services, try hard to retain their sanity in this mad jumble. Their interactions with the dead or living refugees, their skirmishes with the Indian and Sri Lankan States, their personal lives overrun by external events - form the kernel of this narration. Soori, a half-wit Sri Lankan Tamil, who connects to the world through his radio, stands aloof in this bleak world of despair sending lightning jolts of truth into the dark recesses of History. No wonder, he vanishes into the blue and Manimekalai is forced by the State to return to the world of civil obedience. Munusamy is killed and Rosemary turns to her God, the same God who parted the Red Sea to save his flock in their flight from annihilation.