BENGALURU: Anita Peter is on a mission to make the world a kinder place. This International Suicide Prevention Day (Sept 10), the actor and Mohiniyattam performer will be releasing three short films based on a book by her, To Win Your Battles, Stay Alive. The three films, (10 minutes, 4 minutes, and 2 minutes long respectively) reflect different angles of mental health and the possibility of giving up on the struggle. “It shows the ray of hope in the struggle and the need to stay alive,” says Hyderabad-based Anita, who has recovered from depression herself. She is the initiator of ‘I-Pledge Awareness for Change’ which facilitates changes with social relevance. The movies are in English with sub-titles in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, and Kannada. The book they are based on will be released on October 30.
Through her social initiative in association with MacGuffin Frames, Anita is releasing these films to throw light on the need for mental health awareness and the urgency of coming together to kill the social stigma that hovers around these issues. The films have been directed by Anshul Sinha, camera work is by Sandeep Aluri, the readings/ acting coaching is by Rajnish Sharma, background music is by Rejo Abraham Mathew and the cast includes Sumit Keshri, Anita, and Neha Peter.
Anita says: “We planned the shoot in advance and did virtual rehearsals. The shooting was then done over the last weekend with four people including the camera person and the director.” The 44-year-old uses her own experiences during her struggles to “bring about learning and ways to approach a difficulty,” in the movies.
As per the WHO, close to eight lakh people die by suicide every year. For every suicide, there are many more people who attempt suicide. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) over 1,00,000 people die by suicide every year. In 2019, suicides committed by housewives were 15.9 per cent, daily wage earners 23.4 per cent, working professional 9.1 per cent, unemployed 11.6 per cent, students 7.4 per cent, and others at 14.7 per cent. “Despite these figures, we continue to live in denial of the issue due to the social stigma attached to mental health conditions,” says Anita, who wants to fight the social taboo around mental health.