Many short films have been made on Down Syndrome with poignant stories of mothers who had given birth to children with the disorder.
But Bangalore-based documentary filmmaker Pavitra Chalam wants to look beyond the sad tales.
Her 60-minute full-length film titled Indelible features the inspiring stories of seven persons with Down Syndrome, giving hope to parents with special children.
A private screening of the short version of the film (16 minutes), which is yet to release officially, was held here on Sunday. Speaking at the event, Surekha Ramachandran, chairperson of Down Syndrome Federation of India, said that many films had been done on the syndrome, but were quite melodramatic and failed to convey the message. “Indelible shows people with Down Syndrome in a different light. They are happy people. They are achievers though they have their own limitations,” said Surekha, who has a daughter with Down Syndrome and has been working in this field for 30 years.
The film revolves around the daily lives of seven people — Revathy (66, the oldest in the film), Ashwin (a cricket enthusiast), Archana Jayaram (a gold medallist in cycling in Special Olympics in Athens), Sandhya Rao (a bharatanatyam dancer), Aarti (a professional swimmer, preparing for Asia Pacific regional games to be held in Australia in December), Babli and Manimegalai.
Pavitra, who has been making many short films on various issues for over a decade now, said she was inspired to make Indelible after she heard the story of Surekha through her daughter-in-law Maya, who was her friend. “I was moved when I heard her story five years back. She has fought for 30 years and this film is a testament to that fight. What you see in the film is how people with Down Syndrome are. Our experience with them is different that it would stay with us all our lives. That’s why it’s indelible,” Pavitra said.
The feature film was screened at the World Down Syndrome Congress in South Africa last year and, according to Pavitra, it will have a world premier soon. The short version of the film has already won an award at the Delhi Shorts International Film festival and is also part of official selection in film festivals in Canada, Calgary, Texas and Florida.