Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Ribbon - Review of Short Documentaries on HIV AIDS

As part of my curriculum three short documentaries were screened for the "Media and Globalisation" paper. The generic theme for all the three being awareness and creating sensitivity towards HIV Aids and it's patients alike. Directed by Indian cinema's leading filmmakers; a review of the documentaries was in order.

1. Blood Brothers
    Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj
    Produced by Bill Gates Foundation along with Mira Nair
    Cast: Siddharth, Pawan Malhotra and Ayesha Takia

A very simple narrative sewn in the most beautiful and effective manner by Mr. Bharadwaj. The story starts with a successful ad maker Arjun Dutt (played brilliantly by Siddharth) going for a routine medical check up which turns out to be HIV positive. This revelation turns his life upside down because he is expecting another child with his wife Keya (Ayesha Takia) and since he has been unfaithful during the course of the marriage, it leads him to think that due to unprotected sex with multiple partners must have led to the contraption of the virus. Now, the film puts light on a very important aspect and that is the fact that the society still treats people with this disease as a taboo which it makes all the more for the patient to cope with it. This can lead it to isolation for them, which is also highlighted by the protagonist. Pankaj Kapur's delightful cameo as the lively doctor is a treat to watch. His character raises an important point of the difference between people who actually have AIDS and people who are just HIV positive; besides giving a twist to the story.

The major theme of the movie is that inspite of contracting this deadly disease people still do not stop living their lives which is summed in a beautifully penned dialogue by Pawan Malhotra's character "Zindagi kam hui hai, khatam nahi hui". 

2. Positive
    Directed by Farhan Akhtar
    Produced by Bill Gates Foundation, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani
    Cast: Boman Irani, Shabana Azmi and Arjun Mathur

Farhan Akthar once again proves his mettle as a director along with a cast people can only wish for. To watch Shabana Azmi and Boman Irani in the same frame is a viewer's delight but moreover when the film is based on such a sensitive issue it just adds to the whole aura. What the film primarily deals with is that many a times along with the HIV AIDS infected person the whole family has to go through the repercussions. The story centers around that due to the many illicit relationships that Boman Irani has he contracts AIDS and not only insults the constant plea by his wife (Shabana Azmi) and son (Arjun Mathur) but this also drives them away from him emotionally. The narrative also raises an important observation that in the Indian scenario many a times the wife is never even given an option to walk out of a relationship and is supposed to stay in it and take her husband's adulterous ways.

It shows the huamne side of any relationship that even though the husband never did any good to his wife, she still chooses to be by his side and till the end. Not only this but she also makes sure that their son does the same. Inspite of going through a fractured father - son relationship, in his last days their common passion for the camera brings both of them together. It in a way even helps Boman Irani to stay in peace in the end.

Ram Sampath has given a very soulful track to the 20 minute long documentary.

3. Parambha
    Directed by Santosh Sivan
    Produced by Bill Gates Foundation
    Cast: Prabhu Deva, B. Saroja Devi

The narrative talks about the deep rooted stereotyping and prejudices that we all hold against people suffering from AIDS. This doesn't only stop in offices or at homes; but even young, innocent kids are subjected to such inhuman behaviour. A right to education is every child's basic right and when that right is taken away from him because he is HIV positive forms the basic premise of the play. The fact that people are still not aware about a basic thing like touching, hugging or playing with an infected person does not lead to the spread of AIDS is an alarming situation. Because of unawareness such stereotypes are firstly formed in the society and later on they are even reinforced.

Even though the film is entirely shot in Kannada, the use of popular music and great acting skills by the cast makes it very easy to comprehend.  

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