Divakar Kuppan’s animated short ‘Blood in the shell’ pays tribute to the civilians who died in Tuticorin Massacre

The creative mind behind animated short film The Fox of the Palmgrove, Tobacco and the Flower, Divakar Kuppan recently released another animated musical documentary short Sippikul Raththam (Blood in the shell).

Blood in the shell features the violence that took place during an ongoing protest against proposed expansion of a copper smelter plant run by Sterlite Corporation in Tuticorin town.

Talking about the story of the film, Kuppan told Animation Xpress, “The short film is based on the Tuticorin Massacre that happened on 22-23 May 2018, where 13 civilians were shot dead in police firing. They were part of the sterlite protest that happened in 2018 for the shutdown of their copper smelting plant that were polluting their land, air and water. The film tried to bring out the lethal long term hazards of industrial pollution that is sometimes unchecked by the State Pollution Control boards.”

He further added, “The film is a tribute to the 13 martyrs whose sacrifice for their land ensured the shutdown of the Sterlite Copper smelting factory. The contrast is that the same plant that was suffocating people back then was ordered by the court to lend their oxygen production unit to meet the state’s oxygen supply during the COVID peak periods earlier this year.”

Revealing the making of the animated short, Kuppan said, “The interesting thing is that a major part of the film was made back in 2018 during my college internship days. The film was my first attempt in paint on glass technique and it actually gave me the confidence to make my critically acclaimed graduation film The Fox of the Palmgrove later in 2018 – 2019.”

He further mentioned, “Sadly back then I lost the storage device containing the animated shots of the Blood in the shell, so I never got the time to put everything together. Luckily a few weeks ago I found the pen drive containing the animated shots of Blood in the shell. So, with God’s grace I got a second chance to complete this film. I quickly edited the film in two days and published it online as the content is already few years old. But as they say, there’s never an expiry date for good art. And, it has become true in this case. The film received a good reception from the online audience gathering positive feedbacks and wishes.”

The animated short features music from Four Seasons-Summer Antonio Vivaldi and sounds are from freesound.org. Narrating the musical part of the film, Kuppan expounded, “Besides the content, many enjoyed the pairing of the shots with the Vivaldi’s Four Seasons-Summer. In fact the music was decided after completion of the shots. I did my best to match the shots with the Vivaldi’s piece and luckily everything came together well like a magic along with the scratch sounds picked up from the freesound.org. I have always enjoyed editing and sound design besides animation and I had yet another amazing experience with Blood in the shell.”

On asking whether the film will be sent to international festivals, Kuppan concluded, “The film will travel to selected film festivals worldwide which doesn’t have any online availability restrictions. Since the film is already available on my YouTube channel for free for the public.”