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Dubai to India plane crash to be made into movie

Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway at Mangalore Airport on May 22, 2010 while trying to land. Dubai residents were among the 158 people who died.
Abdul Salam, the father of crash victim Mohammed Rafi who died in the Air India Express Flight 812 crash from Sharjah to Mangalore on 22 May 2010. A film based on the crash that killed xx people is currently being produced. Thulasi Kakkat / The National
Abdul Salam, the father of crash victim Mohammed Rafi who died in the Air India Express Flight 812 crash from Sharjah to Mangalore on 22 May 2010. A film based on the crash that killed xx people is currently being produced. Thulasi Kakkat / The National

DUBAI // A Dubai family’s struggles to cope after the Mangalore air crash that killed 158 people four years ago is to be the subject of a new film.

Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway at Mangalore Airport on May 22, 2010, while trying to land. Only eight passengers survived.

UAE residents were among the victims.

The film will tell the story of an expatriate family living in Dubai, their struggles to cope with the loss of loved ones and their fight for compensation, its Indian director said.

“It is about the problems faced by the family here and at home in India,” said Shaheer Ummer, who is in Dubai to prepare for filming.

“The objective of the film is to highlight the tragedy, and the mental and financial impact it still has on people who lost their family members, and open the eyes of the [Indian] government so it will take steps to prevent this from happening again.

“It will also show the problems faced by expatriates here and in India.”

Ummer, who was working as a manager with a cosmetics company in Sharjah when the crash happened, has spent the past two years researching the crash, interviewing survivors and families of the victims in Dubai and India.

“Most of them are still stuck in the same mental state as they were four years ago,” he said. “Many had to visit government departments several times to get even a death certificate.

“Everyone is still struggling to get their rightful compensation and it is very sad.”

Compensation payments have been a contentious issue for family members. Air India paid 1.15 billion rupees (Dh66.9 million) in compensation in 2012, but the case is still being heard by India’s supreme court.

Some families of those who died were sceptical that the movie would help their cause.

“What is the use of the film?” asked Abdul Salam, 48, a fisherman from Kerala who lost his 24-year-old son in the accident.

“Will we benefit from such a film? Families like us are struggling to cope and make ends meet. Our lives have changed drastically because of this accident.

“The case has been escalated to the supreme court and I’ve gone for two hearings and waited patiently for my turn, but it didn’t take place. I am spending so much money on travelling to Delhi each time.”

Mr Salam was the first to file a compensation case against the carrier after the death of his son, who was working as a salesman in Dubai.

“I will see the film and even meet the director, if necessary,” he said. “But will it bring back my son or help us?”

Abdul Rahman, a Dubai resident who lost his wife and eight-year-old son in the crash, welcomed the film.

“If the film benefits the victims’ families, it is well and good,” he said.

The Malayalam movie, titled Ini Mazhayulla Nattilekku (Now to a Rainy Country), is being filmed in Dubai, Mangalore and Kerala.

Shooting is expected to commence in the next three months and be completed in 45 days. It is being produced by Golden Seven, based in the UAE.

Ummer hopes the film will be released in the UAE and India by the end of the year.

pkannan@thenational.ae

Updated: January 27, 2014 04:00 AM

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