Dying Ontario boy's October Christmas inspires Indian film 'Uma'
Published Thursday, July 5, 2018 9:48PM EDT
In October 2015, people in the small southwestern Ontario town of St. George rallied together to throw an elaborate Christmas parade for a seven-year-old with an inoperable brain tumour who wanted to celebrate his favourite holiday one last time.
But although Evan Leversage tragically died on Dec. 6 of that year, just weeks before Christmas, his story did not end there. In 2017, his mother received a surprising Facebook message from award-winning Indian filmmaker Srijit Mukherji.
“In that message, he wanted to explain to me how Evan in St. George had inspired him to write the movie ‘Uma,’” Nicole Wellwood told CTV News Channel on Thursday. “I was actually quite shocked. You know, what happened here in October 2015 was absolutely incredible. But to inspire a movie to be done all the way in India is pretty remarkable.”
“Uma,” a Bengali-language film that tells the story of a young girl’s dying wish to see an important Hindu religious festival, was released in June. At Mukherji’s invitation, Wellwood travelled to Kolkata for the premier.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Wellwood recalled. “There’s nothing that I wouldn’t want more than to have Evan here, but on the same note, to have his story and legacy live on in the way it has is absolutely incredible.”
Wellwood and Mukherji have since become friends, and although Wellwood says seeing the film was “absolutely emotional,” she added that the filmmaker’s “talent behind the camera is amazing.”
Mukherji also travelled all the way from India to St. George to present a special screening of the film Thursday night.
“To be able to share this film and bring it back to St. George to a community that rallied together to give Evan such happiness is absolutely going to be a night I can’t forget,” Wellwood said.
With files from The Canadian Press