Monday, 30 November 2015

Let the commercial play

Yesterday, I went to watch a random Punjabi film which was up on the theatres. Though, I walked-out after the interval feeling disgusted with the overly obvious theme, so much so that, I don’t even correctly remember the film’s name, but, there is something which happened to settle itself in my mind. I am talking about one of the pre-film commercials; this one was not just surprisingly tolerable but also intriguingly beautiful.

The latest “Help a Child Reach 5” film ‘Chamki’ is a pretty compelling story about the importance of hygiene in the neonatal period. Shot by the famous feature film director Anand Gandhi, It showcases the emotional journey of a pregnant mother, Sangrahi and her aspirations for her child to blossom instead of dying at an early age like the rest of the children in her village because infant mortality rate happens to be so high that only very few are able to make it to age 5. And, this is majorly because people there don’t take hygiene and cleanliness as a serious thing; they are casual and deliberately ignorant towards the health hazards. They would pray, keep fasts and tie holy threads but wouldn't take care of basic things which could save their lives.  

So, it basically aims to raise awareness, sensitise people and encourage them to inculcate good hand washing habits. Not so surprisingly, this ad also targets people from urban community because frankly we all are pretty much the same and it’s a lengthy commercial which is shown before the film, so there must a reason behind it’s placement and given importance.

I don’t usually talk about commercials but this one is worth talking about. It showed how each year, about 6 million children die before reaching the age of 5, and sadly they die because of the infections which could have been prevented.  Out of these, about 40% of these deaths occur in the neonatal period, when children happen to most susceptible. Hygiene, particularly handwashing with soap, is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent many of these deaths. 

The film is shot with concept which would definitely not tire your senses; it is light, easy to understand and absorb. Chamki is shown to have imaginatively come out of her mother's womb 7 years back and is shown to have grown up into a fit and joyous girl, who is grateful for every little precautionary thing that Sangrahi, her mother did to keep Chamki safe, healthy and alive. The fictional story presentation brought tears of hope and enlightenment in not just Sangrahi's eyes but also in the eyes of the audiences sitting in the theatre, who had come to watch a comic punjabi film. And, Sangrahi then aspired to become an ideal mother and do all that she must to secure a healthy future for her child-yet-to-be-born.

The change is required because we can’t afford to go on living in a state of denial. We ought now to become more realistic and less superstitious, because if the infection spreads, no god can help. So, why not be more careful and change-ready? And, just in case you haven't yet watched the commercial, here's the link-

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