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Effective treatment can cure Kala Azar: Anurag Kashyap

Jul 07, 2013

A person who invests in a film wants profit which is why filmmakers shy away from subjects like healthcare, says popular Indian film director, Anurag Kashyap.

Anurag Director

Indian film director, Anurag Kashyap, launched a new campaign by Doctors without Borders or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). The campaign ‘Who  Cares?’ will spread awareness about pressing health issues in India and seek the support of the people to address the same.

Talking to OneWorld South Asia, Kashyap said that filmmakers shy away from subjects like healthcare because the person who invests in a film wants profit. Excerpts from the interview.

OneWorld South Asia: Why do you think Indian directors do not make socially relevant movies?

Anurag Kashyap: Cinema is a consumer driven industry not just in India, but all over the world. Filmmakers cannot make socially relevant movies unless the audience is desirous of such films. A person who invests in a film wants profit which is why filmmakers shy away from subjects like healthcare.

But, if commercial cinema fails to stand up to the expectations of people, you can witness the rise of a parallel cinema which shall churn out films on subjects preferred by the masses.

Thinking audience can drive a director to make a good movie that deals with serious issues like conflict, health and the neglected sections of the society. Moreover, cinema cannot work alone. It works along with other media like the news media in all its forms including the newspapers, television, radio and the news websites.

OWSA: What kind of role can organisations like MSF play in fighting neglected diseases in a poor country like India?

Kashyap:  Through its health initiatives carried out across India, MSF has proved its credentials as a trustworthy organisation by the kind of accountability and transparency standards it maintains. Their transparency makes you trust them as an organisation.

Unlimited drops of support are required to fill the needs of the ocean of Indian healthcare. The MSF initiative is being carried out in 5-6 states, which is like a big drop in such ocean. Media should play a pro-active role in highlighting the work done by people in the field of healthcare.

Too many people die of Kala Azar (Visceral leishmaniasis-VL) that can be cured with timely and effective treatment. We should support MSF to raise awareness about this neglected disease and to provide treatment. I appreciate that there are people who work in conflict areas throughout the year. These are those areas which people would generally avoid going in their entire life.

OWSA: Why do you think despite popularly elected governments, areas like healthcare still remain grossly neglected in India?

Kashyap: People are looking for a change. But, in reality, half of the people do not want to do anything to bring that change. They just wish for a change. Unfortunately, change does not happen on its own.

OWSA: What kind of freedom would you like to have as a director and what kind of audience you like?

Kashyap: The biggest freedom that any filmmaker can have is that he can go out and make what he wants to make, something which I have today. My dream audience would be one which is curious about my upcoming ventures and keep their fingers crossed until the film is released.

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