BANGALORE: Bollywood and stress are most often the reasons why city-based youth take to smoking. Five class nine students from Indus International School took their science assignment a little too seriously and undertook a survey in the city. They submitted a documentary on smoking, which won the best film award in the student category at the National Science Film Festival, for their Biology assignment.
The friends — Varshinya, Vinushritha, Anviksha, Akanksha and Anushka — made a documentary titled ‘Be a smoker or not to be’. The film was exhibited at various Science film festivals including Pune Science Film Festival. Anushka said, “We weren’t aware that our documentary was screened at the festival. Our principal told us only after it was nominated. We were awarded `30,000, which we donated to ‘cancer fighters’ at Karunashrya Cancer Centre.”
The students asked young people their opinion on smoking. The 11-minute documentary visualises the various reasons why people take to this habit. They found that Bollywood and stress are the main factors that influence youths to smoke. The film also uses animation to portray how cigarettes harm a human being. Using latest software, the students showed how the tar content in cigarettes stick to the organs causing cancer.
The documentary, however, did not focus only on cigarette smoking but also showed images of youths smoking hookah which they say is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. They also portrayed ‘oaths’ taken by people after they were educated by the students about the ill-effects of smoking. Anviksha said, “We had two weeks to complete this assignment. We never realised it would be screened at this level. We just felt that we shouldn’t make the documentary too serious or too humorous. We didn’t want our classmates to laugh at us. We just wanted to make a creative documentary. We split into groups among ourselves. Two of us worked on the script while the other two researched on the topic of smoking.”
The film is being screened only for select friends and family members. After the copyrights are issued, the documentary will be released online on various social networking sites, said the students. Even though, it is screened only among friends and family, the film has already brought about a change in a small section of the society. Anushka said, “I am glad that the documentary we have made has created awareness among smokers, one of them being my own father. He has decided to quit smoking after watching the film.”
A far-reaching impact for a science project indeed and this effort has proven that it is not hard to kick the butt.