by Shahul Aliyar

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

"against capital punishment"

Chembakam is an exotic flower with a rare, luscious fragrance.

Chembakam is an exotic flower with a rare, luscious fragrance.
Chembakam, the 21 year old luminous lass is an under trail waiting for the imminent judgement. While being among the inmates behind bars, she happens to hear from a senior female warden about an old man being hanged.
The painstaking word pictures freeze her attention. The heart rending cries and the clank of the terrible lever to death turn into a haunting nightmare for her.
Everything keeps moving normal inside the jail.

Now it is her judgement day. She is accused of stabbing to death four in a fit of rage. On the way to the court, the frightening face of the old man hanged the other day shudders her. She makes up her mind to be an approver and request pardon from the court but her advocate advices against it. In the final testimony too she denies the charges and waits for the verdict. It is nothing short of death by hanging. Chembakam faints in the court room.


1st Pace

She is shifted to a new prison. An elderly convict gives ears to her fears but once she mentions her dream to escape and avoid death, she turns her face away. ‘Its sheer impossible to brave the towering walls and vigilant eyes.’
But she can’t take this advice at any cost. She wants to escape but all her attempts fail.

The chief warden is an unrelenting, rigorous and sadistic ex sergeant who has lost one limb in an encounter. He is in jail service for his craze for the job of a disciplinarian. The second one is with a humane face but helpless. The last in the order is a  lascivious guy whose favourite pastime is reading porn.

Everyone’s hair stand on end at the very thought of the chief warden. But for Chembakam, there is nothing frightful in his demeanour. On the contrary she spots him stealing a look at her. But once she glances back, he was out from her field of vision.

One day, a lady warden was caught red handed by the chief, while she was trying to hand over drugs to an inmate. Quite unusual to his nature, he had excused her after long apologies.


It’s a special day and a retired judge visits the inmates. Chembakam seeks his help and advice to help her live. On a second thought, he suggests a near impossible possibility. If the convict is pregnant, she will get her punishment extended for three years. On his return, the judge shares this with the senior officer.
Her hopes spring up. But how?  That’s the question.


2nd Pace

While raking her brains about it the orders are issued to shift her to the condemned cell. Now she is alone with the lone desire.

Just in front of her cell, usually comes the middle aged gardener. The beautiful Chembakam, tries to entice him. He is allured but has no guts. Instead he plucks a rose and offers it to her. What to do with a red rose?
While going out as part of daily chores she tries to ogle at policemen. But nothing turns up. In a strange coincidence, the  chief warden’s eyes once meet with hers. On realising the rays in his beefy eyes, she veils her cleavage.

The chief warden is to retire tomorrow. At the end of such a long career, he feels void. He has so far did nothing but cruelty. On the eve he joins a booze up and shares his pains with his close friends. From there he goes to the lady warden, the keeper of keys. At dead of night, he heads towards the cellar. He too had to jump over a wall. First two attempts fail, but the third time he manages in but the keys fall behind. As he reaches her, she is brimming with hope. He shares his pangs and plans to live his remaining years in love with his wife and daughters. She reciprocates.  Helpless, he just fondles her from the other side of the iron portal and prepares to return. Then she clutches his hand and prompts him to make love through the gap in the grill. He complies.

Next morn she wakes up late to the ‘good byes’ to the retiring officer.
Now her fingers on her underbelly can feel the life beating from within. Day by day she notices her body changing. She has forty five days more. With life inside and death outside, she waits.
How to squeal about her luck?


3rd Pace

Once, while out, she deliberately starts vomiting. The inmates gather around and chides her about keeping awake all night. At another occasion, she pretends fainting and chooses to fall on a turf lest her babe may suffer. The wardens carry her along. On the way, her toes jam against a door panel, she ‘wakes up’ and screams. The play fouls and she is ordered to resume her chores. 

One day she actually vomits and faints  in her cell and in the split of second Chembakam calls the attention of others by throwing the plateful meal on the grill. She is brought before the jail doc who realises the fact with a shock. He consults his boss the jail superintendent and is directed to hush up the matter. The public faith on the system of jails shouldn’t suffer at any cost. Moreover, she is going to die in matter of weeks. The diagnosis read: ‘food poison’. She is back in her cell.
The countdown begins.

The last day. Only hours left for her to scream out…the fact.
Preparations are on inside the jail. Doctors come for routine fitness check. She complains pain from inside her belly. They inspect and diagnose it as: ‘acute acidity due to fear of death’.
The judge seeks her last wish. She wants one more check up.
The judge orders the same. The superintendent winks at the physician.  The team of docs inspects her and ‘finds’ nothing unusual:  ‘acute acidity due to fear of death’. 
The executioner’s hands go up. They yank away  her hands from the budding belly and  enforce the law.



Shahul Aliyar

Mobile: 9447678465
[email protected]

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