By Aditya Savnal. Posted on September 16, 2014
Acid attacks on women is one of the most despicable crimes that exist in our society. India has one of the highest rates of such crimes and estimates vary from 500-1000 per year. The most common motives for these are rejected marriage proposals and sexual advances. Not only do the victims undergo immense physical pain, but they are scarred for life too.
Awareness about and recognition of the seriousness of this crime has sadly been missing in our country. Until now that is. Efforts like Stop Acid Attacks are ensuring that the issue gets highlighted. And now there are filmmakers who've started making films around acid attacks and their survivors.
Megha Ramaswamy's new documentary Newborns, is one such film. This short film examines the lives of two acid attack survivors, Laxmi and Nasreen and portrays the survivors as resilient fighters, treating them with dignity, rather than making the viewers sympathise or pity them as victims.
Megha Ramaswamy, who had earlier written the screenplay for Shaitaan, came up with the idea of making this film after volunteering with Stop Acid Attacks. Disturbed by the increasing number of acid attacks in India, she made this film as an effort to examine the lives of acid attack survivors and to create awareness about the same.
It's a powerful film with haunting images that exposes the dark side of human behaviour while at the same time prompting us to treat acid attack survivors with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Newborns has been screened at multiple festivals and was also a part of the inaugural Short Cuts International programme at the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival. In what is probably a first, the short films in this programme at TIFF had been made publicly available on Vimeo for a short while.