A sensitive approach to cinema

It is rare to win National Awards and get critical reviews for almost every film you make. But P Sheshadri is that kind of person whose craving for excellence becomes more insatiable with every award he gets. His latest release, ‘Vidaaya’, meaning farewell, delves into the much-debated and discussed topic of passive euthanasia. 

A man of few words, the director comes across as a mine of knowledge. He picks up any raging subject that inspires him to tell a story. He then begins his research. “Research requires that I dig out old files, visit places where such stories could possibly emerge and understand how I can present it in the best possible manner. I believe in telling stories that not only touch people’s lives but provoke them to think hard,” reasons Sheshadri.

He entered the film industry in 1990 as screenplay and dialogue writer and soon went on to become an independent director of television serials, documentaries and tele-films. His maiden effort as director of feature film ‘Munnudi’, meaning a preface in 2000, brought him great applause for his sensitive approach to cinema and was also hailed as a landmark film. He has been unstoppable after that and all his films such as ‘Aatithi’, ‘Thutturi’, ‘Vimukthi’, ‘Bettada Jeeva’, ‘Bharath Stores’ and ‘December 1’ have won National Awards.

What triggered the idea for ‘Vidaaya’? Sheshadri says that story is a reflection of his own life’s experiences. “My father was healthy until he was struck by Parkinson's disease a few years ago. He suffered a lot and I was witness to his pain and suffering. This is what prompted me to make a movie exploring the possibility of allowing passive euthanasia to those in a similar state. This would at least put an end to the suffering of the person,” he reasons. 
   
The concept of birth and death has always intrigued Sheshadri. “We can go on talking about birth and one can even predict when a child will be born but you can’t do that same with death. It can hit anybody anytime. Death remains a mystery,” he sums up.              
When asked about how he felt about passive euthanasia, he says, “I was in a dilemma as to what stand to take in the film about passive euthanasia. I couldn’t totally vouch for it nor could I not agree with my conscience that it should be allowed. I’ve tried to convey it in the best possible manner through ‘Vidaaya’.”      

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