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3 Short Films Tell Us Why It’s Important To Discuss And Not Sensationalise Suicide

More than the act of suicide itself, it is the circumstances, conditions, situations and triggers that leads one to reaching a point from where a U-turn is practically impossible, which definitely deserve a dialogue. That is because a dialogue raises questions and many of these pertinent enquiries tell us a lot about society. It tells us how there is this mirage we have created (or has been created by the things that influence us), that has lead us to completely and absolutely neglect the intricate scrutiny that a near or dear one’s situation requires. It is not always that you have to put yourself in someone’s shoes, at times it requires you to put yourself in your own place and ask – how would I advise someone else going through something similar? How would I solve this problem that is faced by someone else?

Such questions and imaginary (or real) situations pull you out of the spot. Now you are accountable – responsible for someone else’s life, someone else’s improvement in a given situation. Suicide is a decision that is taken when one feels no longer equipped to handle the drastic turn of events.

We are living in this mirage of sorts, till a point of time, that everything will be good. The mirage of improvement very rarely might turn to reality for a variety of reasons but these are just a few pieces of the mountain-sized culmination of the thoughts, depression, repression, hate, anger, fear, anxiety and stress that lead to this social fact called suicide.

And that is what led us at ‘bLOGiMLY’ to make a trio of short films which intends to open a dialogue about suicide prevention and mental health. We have been involved in making short films related to children and web series pertaining to many issues we think need to be talked about more often.

This one was a sensitive project we had taken up and sensitive projects attract sensitive people and sensitive organisations. This project brought bLOGiMLY in association with Aasra Foundation – a 24 x 7 suicide prevention helpline. Mr. Johnson Thomas, Director and Founder of this organisation is in sync with us. Both our organisations believe how a dialogue, a debate and a few pertinent questions can decide whether the decision is taken or not.

The biggest inspiration for us, though, was the media which very selectively picks facts that they wish to highlight. The mental make-up, mindset and what actually causes a person to take the decision are set aside. The tendency is to either overlook key issues or to sensationalise. We are shown the wrong picture, and that is what the first film in the trio, “Dhund: Worlds Apart” intends to capture.

A year ago, our director (for all three films), Nozzer Pardiwala, asked me to write a script with just one idea – three people conversing throughout the film (as if with each other), and connected, when actually they are worlds apart. No theme, no outline, no characters. A couple of days later, we had our script, our characters, our theme – and a short film.

I was a part of all three films as an actor. Our motto was to get real people to act in these films and not professionally trained actors. And that is because actors act as characters, but the actors here, are the characters – living their lives on camera, as their characters would live. The actors are portrayed as their characters are believable and real. No extra glamour, no added make-up, no over-the-top drama. Hence, this concept of real people.

With “Dhund: Worlds Apart”, two students pursuing mass media were introduced. In the second film, “Rigmarole”, we had an image consultant as our lead and in the third, “That Day”, our lead is a US mortgage professional working as a senior accountant for a global company. The characters were built to surmise the fact that people from all walks of life, educated or not, working or not, can go through similar feelings and the ‘knocks of life’ due to a society that more often than not rejects certain different individual outlooks.

“Rigmarole”, our second film in the trio, continues the discussion from the point at which the previous one ended. It brings to light the decision phase and surmises, the culmination of all the feelings that finally lead to this decision. “Mann hi roke mann ke raaste, koi na khada ab iske vaaste” (Only the mind stops itself and no longer is anyone standing up for it) goes one of the lines in a song in our film.

Further, it speaks of an intervention – that raises questions, attempts and succeeds at mitigating the circumstance. Reversal of the situation, which would otherwise be impossible, can be possible when a few questions are asked and that is what we intend to point out to our viewer.

The biggest learning from the films was that these were sensitive topics we were dealing with and that certain elements (that we would otherwise prefer ignoring in a short film) should not distract the audience from the film. Music, editing, sound, continuity – everything was a factor that had to be taken under consideration.

With the third and last film, we now wanted to look at the aftermath and also tap into the regressive mindsets that we still hold. We wanted to take it beyond the intense struggle – shifting the focus to survivor’s guilt. This was an ambitious project to take up because of the intensity of its emotions. There was too much to handle, not just for the character but also for us.

Remember the last time you lost a loved one and how you thought that something that you could have done right, or not done wrong, could have maybe, just maybe, saved them? It brings back that day, the day you regret for not having done something. It is a different form of dialogue where the roles are reversed. The one who no longer wishes to live, asks questions and denies anything and everything that gives a motive to live. The uproar within oneself is so deafening that it drowns any rationale voice or logic. It asks us to peek into societal mindsets that lead one on the precipice of self–destruction.

bLOGiMLY is a production company involved in the making of short films and web series, to bring about a dialogue on the pertinent issues faced by all age groups of people-children, adolescents and adults. The three films discussed above were screened at CLAP Centre, Mumbai on November 27 2016 organised by bLOGiMLY.

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