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Contest drives home message

Special Correspondent
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Recognising Creativity: Director Balu Mahendra and actor Karthi Sivakumar present the award to one of the winners of the Cancer awareness campaign short film contest on Thursday. Billroth Hospitals' Managing Director Rajesh Jeganathan is in the picture. — PHOTO: R. RAGU
Recognising Creativity: Director Balu Mahendra and actor Karthi Sivakumar present the award to one of the winners of the Cancer awareness campaign short film contest on Thursday. Billroth Hospitals' Managing Director Rajesh Jeganathan is in the picture. — PHOTO: R. RAGU

If the word ‘cancer' conjures up images of devastated families, then there are others who will tell you otherwise. The student filmmakers who participated in a competition organised by Billroth Hospitals and Dr. V. Jeganathan Foundation presented the positive side of the dreaded ailment.

The contestants used the theme to show how children and youngsters view life with cancer. To them cancer is not a dreaded disease. They believe in saving lives and know that knowledge about the disease and its symptoms is very important.

Billroth Hospitals Managing Director Rajesh Jeganathan said the aim of the contest titled ‘Canswer' was to reach out to the public. With theatre personality Mitran Devanesen as the brand ambassador, the hospital embarked on the project. A photography contest was also held.

The campaign was launched in February 2010 as part of World Cancer Day and concluded on Thursday with the screening of the films at a function in the city. College students were invited to participate in the campaign which included cancer screening camps also. About 150 participants from over 100 colleges across the country participated.

There were 21 entries in the photography contest. Only one photograph was shortlisted.

The campaign began with an interactive seminar with filmmakers Balu Mahendra, Madhu Ambat, Rajesh S. Jala and Hariharan. Two internationally-known documentaries were screened. And then, the contestants were on their own. The final product was far beyond his expectations, said Mr. Balu Mahendra, who was the judge. “Cinema is the right medium to carry the message across. He congratulated the makers of the three shortlisted films and urged young filmmakers to not get absorbed into mainstream films. “The intensity of the films in passing on the message” captured his attention, he said.

Director Rajesh lauded the films for their crisp and the “hard-hitting” messages. Actor Karthi Sivakumar praised the filmmakers' ability to make quality films.

The winners were presented cheques and mementos. Cash prizes totalling Rs.1.5 lakh were given. A film by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi on children with AIDS was screened.

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