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Updated: March 9, 2010 12:59 IST

Short film to remove misconception about mental illness

Staff Reporter
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Filming of 'Azhukku Sattai,' a documentary on wandering mentally ill patients underway. Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam
THE HINDU Filming of 'Azhukku Sattai,' a documentary on wandering mentally ill patients underway. Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam

Anbalayam, the non-government organisation looking after the wandering mentally ill people, went a step further to remove public ignorance about the ailment by getting its short-film titled ‘Alukku Sattai' (soiled cloth) released here on Monday.

The CD of the 45-minute short film directed by D. Radhakrishnan with a theatre artiste Jayanth in the lead was released at the St. Joseph's College by Cine Director Prabu Solomon in the presence of the Founder Director of Anbalayam and alumnus T.K.S. Senthil Kumar, the Principal Rev. Fr. Rajarathinam, Psychiatrist Dr. G. Gopalakrishnan of Sowmanasya Hospital.

The first copy of the CD was received by Sasidharan Chinnasamy, an IT professional and social worker based in London.

Incidentally, Mr. Prabu had launched the short film project at the same venue over two years back with an element of novelty. A part of money for the project was generated from the sale of used shirts of students from city colleges, and the rest was mobilised through public contributions.

Cinema being a powerful medium will be able to rectify the public misconceptions about mental retardation and illness, Dr. Gopalakrishnan said, explaining that the mentally ill people possessed normal intelligence but were unable to express themselves due to a combination of factors like fear, loneliness and confusion. It was imperative for the public to know that the ailment is controllable, he said, while emphasising that it was the duty of the Government to look after the mentally ill, he said.

Citing a biblical allusion, the Principal said the short film portrayed Anbalayam's approach of look, touch and heal. Anbalayam has exemplified its uniqueness by venturing into a task that even commercial filmmakers will hesitate to undertake, Mr. Prabu pointed out.

Professors G. Ravindran and Joseph Irudayaraj and retired Professor N. Arunachalam, who presided over, recalled the dedication with which Mr. Senthil Kumar attended to the needs of the wandering mentally ill during his student days.

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