Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair launched her four short movies on Aids this week in the UK. She hopes to gain distribution eventually in every movie house in India. The idea is that the movies, each just 12 minutes long, should be shown before the main feature. They are called Migration, Blood Brothers, Positive and Prarambha; and have been produced under the umbrella of Mira Nair’s Aids Jaago (Aids Awake) film project.
Directed by some of India’s leading film-makers, they look at sex and its dangers in different ways. In these films, Indians, married and unmarried, gay and straight, poor and rich have to face up to the problem that when sex is unprotected, it could lead to HIV and Aids. The movies have been financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and they are by no means tragic voyeuristic movies — they contain all the best elements of Bollywood, including the joyous singing and dancing of the genre.
The stars in the Aids Jaago series (Shiney Ahuja, Raima Sen, Sameera Reddy, Irrfan Khan, Siddharth) are all hoping that the films will help to develop the maturity of India’s thinking towards that most enjoyable and yet — with 3 million Aids sufferers in India — potentially most damaging of human activities.