A peep into the world of 'special' people

A peep into the world of 'special' people

Film screening

In a treat for film aficionados, Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) held a screening of its three films which have won the National Awards, 2011, at the India International Centre recently.

Mindscapes…of Love and Longing by Arun Chadha which won the award for the best film on social issues, A Drop Of Sunshine by Aparna Sanyal which bagged the Best Educational Film award, and There Is Some Thing In The Air by Iram Ghufran which got the Best Direction and Best Editing award, were screened in the presence of over a hundred film lovers. This was also followed by a discussion with Rajiv Mehrotra- Commissioning Editor & Managing Trustee at PSBT and the three filmmakers, which was very enthusiastically participated in by all present. Mindscapes… to begin with is a film on the sexual needs of people with disabilities, both physical and mental. The film picks up special people, in various stages of life, negotiating with their sexual identities. For example, a mentally retarded teenaged girl, who has just entered puberty, trying to understand the concept of ‘opposite sexes,’ followed by the story of a mentally retarded middle-aged man who has seemingly made peace with the fact that marriage may not be meant for him. 

Next, we see the happy story of a special couple who have married but do not have children, and finally a man suffering from muscular dystrophy fortunately blessed with a devoted wife and children as well. The film is no doubt a well-meaning and sensitive look into the life of special people.

Next, A Drop Of Sunshine is a beautifully made documentary on the battle of a courageous young woman with schizophrenia. Narrating the story of 30-year-old Reshma Valliappan, a painter, it not only informs the audience of the problems associated with this disease, but also portrays it creatively with enchanting visual reliefs from the interview. Lastly, There Is Some Thing In The Air retells the stories of women who claim to be ‘possessed’ by spirits and visit the shrines of Sufi saints in North India for redemption.

Tackling a difficult subject like this, the film negotiates between the ‘real’ world and the ‘imaginary’ world of these women brilliantly. For example, the hull of a boat silently moving across the river only partially submerged in water symbolises these women as they keep moving in and out of their ‘created’ worlds.

In fact, this is what bound the three movies together in the series- the attempt to capture the travails of ‘troubled’ minds beyond the pains obviously visible. Rajiv Mehrotra, Commissioning Editor, PSBT, said, “It is indeed a difficult task to make a disabled person talk about his sexuality when he fully knows that he will be subjected to ridicule at worst and pity at the best for his frankness. Nor is it easy to film the other-worldly experiences of allegedly ‘possessed’ women.

PSBT is glad to work with such thoughtful and courageous filmmakers who have gone into territories which have seldom been explored before. We are hopeful that these films would help the society to understand the ‘special’ people amongst us better and help them deal with their everyday problems.” 

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