HIV :: Indian filmmakers team up to deliver message on AIDS in cinema halls

Indian cinemagoers will soon see short films by India’s top directors about the impact of HIV/AIDS, which will be screened ahead of Bollywood movie blockbusters, reported by PTI.

The “AIDS Jaago” project, a collaboration of filmmakers to raise awareness about the disease, is the brainchild of India-born film director Mira Nair and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Nair came up with the idea when a representative of the foundation contacted her and presented “the startling statistic that if we don’t control what’s happening in India in terms of the lack of awareness and stigma and other things associated with HIV, the magnitude of India’s HIV/AIDS epidemic could equal that of Africa in a few years.” “I proposed that I would get together the most cutting-edge, commercial, populist film directors from different regions of India who would each use iconic movie stars who are recognized in our country, who would each make a dramatic tale of 15 minutes in length,” Nair told USINFO, a US government-run website.

One AIDS topic was assigned to each director, “and then they had the freedom to do what they needed to do,” Nair said.

“I chose the directors I most admire,” she said of filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar.

Bhardwaj’s film Blood Brothers is about the psychological impact of the infection and “living positively with it,” Nair said.

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