'AIDS jago'- four film series on AIDS premiered at IFFI

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Panaji, Nov 27 (UNI) 'AIDS Jago', a four film series on AIDS was premiered at the 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here this evening, which was produced under the auspices of Mira Nair's Mirabai Films and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The films feature Shiney Ahuja, Sameera Reddy, Irfan Khan in Mira's film Migration, Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi in Farhan Akhtar's film Positive, Ayesha Takia, Siddharth and Pavan Malhotra in Vishal Bharadwaj's Blood Brothers and Prabhudeva and Sarojadevi in Santosh Sivan's 'Prarambha'.

The Gates Foundation had briefed Mira Nair to get topline Bollywood actors to be part of the project.

Of all the actors and directors, only Raima Sen was present at the screening.

Speaking after the screening, the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) director Neelam Kapur said she requested all the actors and directors to attend the screening. ''Mira and Santosh are busy filming their latest projects. But Farhan and Vishal are in Mumbai and could have made it here for half a day,'' she added.

Producer Shernaz Italia said there were lot of difficulties on getting them on board. ''Very few wanted to be part of it,'' she added.

On being asked whether the actors had refused because they did not want to be part of an AIDS project, Ms Shernaz said it was not easy to be expleined.

Neelam Kapur said the film's premier at the IFFI was to mark the World AIDS day on December 1. Ms Shernaz said all the films have been passed by the Censor Board without cuts. Only Mira's film 'Migration' has been given an A certificate.

In Migration, Shiney Ahuja plays a rural labourer who leaves his wife (Raima Sen) for work in Mumbai, where he enters into a sexual relationship with a woman (Sameera Reddy) whose husband Irfan Khan is a gay. Nafeesa Ali, chairperson of the Children's film society of India was one of the audience and felt that the film was 'most damaging for the HIV awareness campaign'.

She liked the concept of Vishal Bharadwaj's film Blood Brothers where the HIV tests report get bungled up and Siddharth is shattered to know that he suffers from the disease only find out later that the doctor had confused his report with that of his namesake and an older man (Pawan Malhotra) who had tested HIV positive.

Farhan Akhtar's 'Positive' dwells on the story of caring for an AIDS patient in the last stage of his illness, while 'Prarambha' touches on the issue of the child of a HIV positive parents being discriminated against in school.

Ms Shernaz said the producers release one film to get maximum viewership. Besides, she said talks are on with television channels to telecast them.

A delegate from the audience felt that none of the films had touched upon the issues of AIDS patients not being treated in private hospitals or the possibility of AIDS being contracted due to blood transfusion.

Ms Shernaz said this was the first such effort in the AIDS awareness campaign and the directors had done whatever they could do best. There will be room for further improvement in future projects in the AIDS campaign, she added.


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