CHENNAI: Life was not a bunch of roses for Harish Iyer. Sexually abused by a relative at the tender age of six, Harish grew up to be a timid teenager who was at war with the world. Unable to cope up with life, Harish decided to take his life, but survived.
The world will get to see a glimpse of his life story in the movie I am Abhimanyu. Directed and produced by Onir, the movie will release next month. Sanjay Suri, Radhika Apte, Shernaz Patel and Anurag Kashyap play important roles in the movie. I am Abhimanyu is part of a five series short-film.
“When Onir sent me a proposal saying he wants to do a movie on my life, I was not ready for it. But on further thought I understood that if I let them film the darkest part of my life I would be able to bring about some changes in the world,” says Harish.
Not just child sexual abuse, Harish has more to tell the world. Sometime during his teens, Harish realized that he was homosexual. “Today, I face lots of questions connecting my childhood experience and my sexuality. I felt the need for telling the world that child-abuse will never change your sexuality and the result is a short film Amen,” reveals Harish.
According to the Amen team, the movie brings the two protagonists, Andy and Harry, together. They experience hope amidst confusion, explore truths about sexuality and the self and delves into the profound meaning of life in the continuum of its trifles.
“Amen explores gay relationship like no other movie has done before. It teaches the world that life does not allow one to choose his sexuality, you’re born with it,” says Harish.
Harish feels that life would’ve been different if he had someone to talk to during his childhood trauma. Today he is championing the need for sex education at home.
“If the world stops thinking sex as a taboo, half the problems will be solved. Kids should be made aware of their sexual organs right from childhood. Why do we learn ‘Parts of the body’ in class one with a picture of a guy or a gal wearing an underwear?” he quips.
He also feels that the change should begin from the doctors, “It is the duty of the doctors to tell the expectant mother to teach her child about sexuality. Parents should stop calling sexual organs with nick names and tell the kids the truth. This will avoid unnecessary experimentation. The child will no longer have the fear of discussing a wrong encounter from any ‘uncles’ or ‘aunties’.”
Harish says that he gets to know about two to three cases of sex abuse everyday. “People find it comfortable to open up to me because they think I can relate to them. This is not always a pleasurable experience, but I’m ok with it.”
According to him though homosexual males have come out of the closet, the fairer sex still finds it hard to admit it. “Well what can you expect from a society where being a woman itself is a taboo,” rues Harish.
Harish works with a number of NGOs to help child sex abuse victims. He did his bit during the Mumbai terror attack by starting a Mumbai terror helpline, the blog was later covered by BBC. ‘Sita Sena’, an organization to fight for women’s rights, was his brainchild in association with Shobhaa De.
Harish has a fan page in Facebook and tweets as @hiyer. To know more about him visit www.hiyer.net