BENGALURU: An ad film made on city couple Dr Aloma and David Labo’s daughter, Nisha, a child with special needs, who was adopted almost 17 years ago, is making waves after it won a Bronze Lion at Cannes 2019.
One in a Million, a film part of the Vicks’ #TouchOfCare campaign, chronicles Nisha’s journey from the orphanage to her present self. The category of the film was Film Craft and it was won by Offroad Films, Mumbai.
When Nisha received news that the film had won an award, she informed her mother who “jumped up and down” in joy.
But Nisha was very calm and has kept the news low key. “I’m happy that the film won because the message that one’s appearance does not define you was clearly portrayed and well filmed,” she said.
Her mother was initially slightly apprehensive about the amount of publicity she would be exposed to but eventually agreed that Nisha be part of the film.
Dr Aloma, the former chairperson of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), added that the film, which has been made without attempting to invoke sympathy, sadness or bitterness, has reached a wide audience.
“After the release, I received enquiries from New York and San Francisco from those who were keen to adopt a child,” she said, adding that in Bengaluru, the number of children with special needs adopted is hardly encouraging.
Dr Aloma and David have six children, the youngest being Nisha, who was born with a rare genetic condition called ichthyosis, which affects one in a million children. Nisha was abandoned when she was just two weeks old. Her condition made her skin thick and flaky, completely blind in one eye with little sight in the other, and her lack of eyelids made her prone to diseases. “It was a Sunday morning when we first met Nisha, and were initially taken aback a bit, when our second daughter said, ‘Mumma, let’s take her home’,” Dr Aloma had said in an interview with CE in November 2018, soon after the release of the film.
She had also said they had discussed the matter with their other children, especially since they were concerned if they could take on caring for a child with special needs.
It was only when everyone was on board, did they go ahead and bring Nisha home. “The initial few months were hard – she needed a lot of care and love. But we had a lot of support, and eventually, we didn’t see her for her condition anymore but saw her as a happy girl, full of life, who was unapologetically herself and wanted to be accepted for who she is,” she had said.