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Kerala Tourism’s ‘Varkala & the Mystery of the Dutch Wreck’ dives into the underwater legends of the coastal town

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Varkala and the Thriller of the Dutch Wreck, directed by filmmaker Abhilash Sudheesh, unspools the thriller of a Colonial-era shipwreck off the Varkala-Anchuthengu coast

Varkala and the Thriller of the Dutch Wreck, directed by filmmaker Abhilash Sudheesh, unspools the thriller of a Colonial-era shipwreck off the Varkala-Anchuthengu coast

Past the laidback seashores and spectacular cliff views of the ocean, Varkala and its environment have a hoary previous. It was as soon as a middle of colonial commerce for the Dutch East India Firm and later, the British-led East India Firm.

Kerala Tourism’s newest brief film, ‘Varkala and the Mystery of the Dutch Wreck, directed by filmmaker Abhilash Sudheesh, unspools the thriller of a Colonial-era shipwreck off the Varkala-Anchuthengu coast.

“The thought for the movie took place within the midst of a dialog in regards to the e-book, Kadalarivukalum Neranubhavangalum, by marine researcher and deep-sea diver Robert Panipillai, who I had with advert man Kenny Jacob, who runs the ‘Kerala Tales’ social media deal with of Kerala Tourism,” says Abhilash. One chapter of the e-book, which unfolds the secrets and techniques of the seas, is devoted to the wreck of the Dutch trading ship the Wimmenum (1752), which sank about 9 miles off Anchuthengu village, close to Varkala, some 250-plus years in the past. Robert was arguably the primary to doc the wreck.

“Kerala Tourism was eager on making a movie about it, [even] although the shipwreck is a few 48m beneath sea stage and troublesome to entry even for knowledgeable divers. The filmmaker in me was intrigued sufficient to dive deep into the problem of constructing a movie about it. I used to be impressed by Tintin comics, significantly The Adventures of Tintin: Pink Rackham’s Treasurewhereas creating the movie,” says Abhilash, 27, the Thiruvananthapuram-based founding father of advert movie home eleventh Hour Productions.

Abhilash Sudheesh, director of ‘Varkala and the Thriller of the Dutch Wreck’ says he was impressed by Tintin comics, significantly The Adventures of Tintin: Pink Rackham’s Treasure whereas creating the movie. , Picture Credit score: Particular Association

The seven-and-a-half-minute movie begins with a younger traveller’s (performed by actor and singer Anoop Mohandas) journey to Varkala on a quest to search out out extra in regards to the well-known ‘Dutch bell’ of the traditional Sree Janardhana Swamy temple excessive up on the Varkala cliff, which he had first encountered in his childhood.

Myths and legends about Wimmenum

As defined within the movie with a brief animated reel, there are a number of tales of how the forged iron bell of the Wimmenum ended up on the temple. One story is about how the ship as soon as received caught off the Varkala coast and its captain prayed to the deity to launch it from its distress and later donated the bell to the temple when his want was granted. A second story recounts how native pirates sank the ship and looted its hoard, and yet one more refers to how the ship went down in an enormous storm. “In actuality, the bell – which has inscriptions in regards to the ship and its maker – does not hold contained in the temple (as is proven within the movie) however is saved in a nook of the sanctum sanctorum. Since pictures shouldn’t be allowed inside, the bell was painstakingly replicated in entirety for the movie,” explains Abhilash.

A still from the short film 'Varkala and the Mystery of the Dutch Wreck'

A nonetheless from the brief movie ‘Varkala and the Thriller of the Dutch Wreck’ | Picture Credit score: Particular Association

The story of the bell finally leads our younger explorer to Wimmenum’s wreck. “It was difficult from the get go as a result of we had little in the best way of historic information to go on,” says Abhilash. As an illustration, there are not any eyewitness accounts of this explicit shipwreck. There’s solely sparse details about the ship on the Dutch nationwide archives within the Netherlands, like how the identify, Wimmenum, comes from the identify of a coastal village in Holland and that there have been 356 crew members on board when it sank, in line with Robert’s e-book.

Nonetheless, there may be loads of native lore in regards to the shipwreck handed down by means of generations. “One such individual within the know was fisherman Biju, whose household had been fishing the waters for many years. He seems as himself within the movie and took us to the location in his personal boat. The fisherfolk like Biju have lengthy recognized a couple of significantly bountiful portion of the ocean, about an hour away by pace boat, house to many alternative colleges of fish and a assured catch. Not many individuals knew why it was so till Robert dived and located concrete proof of the shipwreck-turned-artificial reef,” explains Abhilash, who spent two years researching and filming the venture.

The opposite predominant problem for the filmmaker was the precise deep sea dive to get underwater footage. “The preliminary dive needed to be aborted at 30m as a result of poor visibility. Biju got here up with the thought of ​​tying a GoPro digital camera to a fishing rope and we had been capable of seize a short glimpse of the ship! The ocean alongside Varkala coast shouldn’t be preferrred for diving in the perfect of situations for it’s typically tough, the ocean currents are excessive and visibility at 48m depth is poor and murky. “One of the best time to dive alongside the Varkala coast there may be simply after the retreating monsoons when the ocean is far calmer. So, a couple of months later we did that tried one other dive with the assistance of licensed divers from Kovalam and completed the duty,” says Abhilash.

The unbelievable footage they received displays the younger explorer’s bliss of discovery, a becoming metaphor for what wondrous Varkala itself is to legions of travellers. Hold an eye fixed out for an extended, director’s minimize of the brief movie, to be launched shortly.

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