Archive for June 2012
This afternoon I was watching a film made in the 60s. It was a ‘story’ film. Bollywood has two distinct types of films – the ‘story’ film and the ‘action’ film. Well, this one told the story of a couple – the husband is a scientist poised to become famous with some research he is doing, when the wife contracts TB. While he doesn’t have any issues about this as he loves her and is willing to do anything to help her recover, people around the couple get at the woman saying she is the one factor that can come in the way of his becoming a famous scientist, because her illness will be a hindrance to his scientific pursuit. To cut a long story short, she decides to make a sacrifice and leaves home one day, thus setting him free to pursue his career. The positive note in this film is that she gets cured and comes back to him a few years later.
What is not so positive is that Bollywood and TB have had a long and not so happy relationship. Almost every film made a few decades ago had one character – mostly the mother, father or sister of the hero or heroine, suffering from TB. The images I remember are of a bedridden character with a consumptive cough, often coughing up blood and the hero being pressurized to get a job so he can get the patient cured.
Till I began doing work around TB, the perception I had was mostly formed through my exposure to Bollywood films. And this perception was patently negative. Think TB and I would think of white handkerchiefs dotted with blood, ill-treatment of the patient, stigma, neighbours pointing fingers, sanatoriums and long years of suffering. While this is no longer the case as Bollywood seems to have lost interest in TB, the images still linger, the perception hasn’t gone away. How about if some new films were made to erase these negative images and transpose them with some happy, positive ones? Is Bollywood listening?