First Indian anti-addiction short film with real people

First Indian anti-addiction short film with real people

A filmmaker and two psychiatrsts hope their films on drug addiction will push people towards seeking help

Filmmaker Maya Chandra has always wanted to make something to help destigmatise addiction and seeking help for it.

Her and collaborators Dr Mahesh Gowda, director of Spandana Health Care and Dr Vijaykumar Harbishettar, psychiatrist, first worked together for the Bengaluru traffic police on a campaign about drinking and

The first video, in what they hope will be a series of Public Service Announcement-style videos, released on October 10 which was World Mental Health Day. 

“The end of the year is a time when many people stock up on drugs due to the multiple parties that happen, this is another reason we wanted the project to kick off during this time,” explains Dr Mahesh Gowda. 

Maya says while PSAs on drug use have been done before, what sets this one apart is the use of real people and their stories. 

“Dr Mahesh asked patients at his centre whether they would volunteer for the effort and many were willing to do so. We kept them anonymous so as to protect them from any unforeseen consequences but they were in fact willing to reveal their identities,” she says. Dr Mahesh was all for the real people real stories idea as well, “Dramatisations or recounting theoretical material doesn’t leave an impact. Hearing it from the horse’s mouth makes a world of difference,” he says. 

The first roadblock was getting someone who was in the later stages of their rehabilitation. “We have many patients who are struggling with addiction but for the first film in the series we wanted to show someone who had overcome it,” he explains. 

They are hoping to make a series of videos targeting different demographics of addicts. “We’re hoping to have videos that involve the families of the patients as well,” Maya adds. 

They are looking for anyone who might be able to help with the project, from people who can help increase their reach to people who are willing to share their stories. 

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