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Filmmaker Venkat Bharadwaj comes with a documentary on suicide called 'Leap of Faith'

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The director's Kannada film, 'Kempirve' won him the Karnataka State Film Award under the best screenplay category in 2017, and his last Tamil film was 'Unarvu'

Venkat Bharadwaj makes two kinds of films. One for entertainment and the other with social messages. While he uses the medium of cinema for the former, he leans towards documentaries for the latter.

Filmmaker Venkat Bharadwaj comes with a documentary on suicide called 'Leap of Faith'

Venkat is a known name in the Kannada and Tamil film industry. His Kannada film, Kempirve won him the Karnataka State Film Award under the best screenplay category in 2017 and his last Tamil film was Unarvu.

Currently, Venkat is busy planning a strategy to release his documentary on suicide. Titled Leap of Faith, Venkat plans to release the film on social media in the first week of January with the help of film celebrities.

“Mental health and suicide are issues that are plaguing our society. I wanted to put together something that would make the common man think. But instead of showcasing the dark side of suicide, the film is motivational and aims to make people think,” says Venkat, as “cinema is a powerful medium to communicate.”

Filmmaker Venkat Bharadwaj comes with a documentary on suicide called 'Leap of Faith'

Venkat researched for five months to make the film. “We spoke to several experts including 22 doctors, reached out to 18 survivors as well families, who have lost people. Some were brave and some hesitant to share their stories, but all of them finally gave us permission to use their testimonies to ‘help many other people going through this trauma’.”

The other challenge was the almost 18 hours of footage and information which “had to be compressed into a 45-minute film. As most of the cast were not actors, some have spoken, without pauses. So to stop or cut a portion without losing the meaning of what is being said was a herculean task,” says the director.

Leap of Faith also has stories of survivors, who said they changed their mind in the last minute and regretted what they were about to do to themselves.

The experts, counsellors, and psychiatrists blame the fast pace of life and the lack of communication amongst people. The film has them explaining how parents and society create unreal expectations and pressures.

Leap of Faith also has a horrifying story of a six-year-old girl who attempted to kill herself. It also shares statistics of children in the age group of 10 and 20 and seniors who are more prone to suicide. “The young are in a constant conflict with their parents, peers, society and the elders feel lonely and helpless.”

Why a film on suicide? “Why not?” asks Venkat. “India ranks second with the highest rate of suicides. Studies show that a case is reported every two minutes. So my friend and I decided to share true stories of those who have lost loved ones and those who have survived.” Venkat, also plans on releasing the remaining content of his research as a series.

Venkat plans to reach out to colleges and educational institutions with the documentary.. “There is immense strength within each one of us. We just need to tap that and seek help.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:46:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/filmmaker-venkat-bharadwaj-comes-with-a-documentary-on-suicide-called-leap-of-faith/article30162446.ece

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