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Updated: February 23, 2011 16:40 IST

Shooting for cancer

MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN
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The prize-winning photo by Ankur Unni Menon.
Courtesy: Ankur Unni Menon The prize-winning photo by Ankur Unni Menon.

The CANSWER campaign's Shortfilm and Photography Contest attracted a lot of entries with their own messages to convey.

While millions are being spent on cancer research all over the world, there is something you can do to help too and it's got nothing to do with lab coats or scientific study. In fact, you don't need to know science at all; you just need a heart.

The short films screened at the Shortfilm and Photography Contest Grand Finale of the CANSWER campaign organised by Billroth Hospitals and Dr. V. Jegananathan Foundation showed just how.

The event was a culmination of a contest announced as a part of the year-long campaign that sought to spread awareness about cancer. The numerous entries received were shortlisted and six were chosen to be screened at the finale in the presence of guests like actor Karthi, director Balu Mahendra, director Rajesh and photographer Venket Ram.

Veteran of many a classic, Balu Mahendra, was given the job of choosing the winner, which he confessed was a very tough job. “If it were left to me, all of them would be declared winners,” he insisted.

Top three

Because of time constraint, only the top three of the six were screened and they did get the message across. The second-runner up was “Poochedi” (Flowering plant) by V. Rohin. It dealt with the theme of support in the time of need and early detection of cancer that would have saved the victim from a lot of pain. Through the slow-moving, subtle plot, the viewers also picked up pointers on symptoms of ovarian cancer, the identification of which would help fight the cancer early.

The first runner-up was “Urudhunai” by Surya and Vignesh Raja. The duo's film was a happy and positive one all through portraying the relationship between a grandfather and the granddaughter.

While the grandfather supports the granddaughter through her turbulent and stressful exam time, she in turn does the same through his fight with cancer. How both of them keep each other motivated and come out successful through it all suggested a positive message indeed.

The winning film had two street kids trying to save their goldfish as the packet in which it was contained starts leaking. Running helplessly, one of the boys suddenly disappears around a corner. After a while, he returns with a lunch carrier in hand. He removes the lunch boxes and pours the water and the fish into the hot pack.

While you are wondering how he got hold of that, a school girl catches up with them and she doesn't look happy. The boys look up at her with fear and regret in their eyes. The girl looks at the fish in her hot pack and realises what has happened and gives them a big smile that says it all.

“I wanted to make a film that was off-beat without the seriousness and suffering that films on such topic generally have. I wanted to convey the message that cancer can be cured and early detection and action is the answer,” said Bharath, who pursues a career in law as a hobby, but filmmaking is his passion.

The winners walked away with a cash prize of Rs. 60,000, Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 20,000.

In picture

Meanwhile, the picture clicked by Ankur Unni Menon, an architect from Bangalore, won the prize in the photography contest. “It is a picture of my great grandmother, who suffers from psoriasis. The picture captures the pain, a sense of being lost and lonely, which I felt would suit the theme of the campaign and hence I submitted it,” said Ankur. And it did. It helped one empathise with people who suffered and also worked as a warning bell for early detection.

Afterall, that was what the campaign was all about — that cancer has an answer, which is fighting it early.

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