Sinlung /
25 November 2010

No Takers For 'Mr India', Film On HIV Positive Body Builder

M-kund[3]Panaji, Nov 24 : 'Mr India', a documentary film depicting the struggles and triumphs of HIV positive body builder Pradeep Kumar may have won several international awards, but is finding no takers for a theatrical release in India.

Filmmaker Haobam Pabankumar is disappointed that the film will go to DVDs directly despite winning more than 12 national and international awards.

The documentary film from Manipur was screened in the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

"Getting a theatrical release in India is very difficult but we have found a distributor and some theatre owners in Manipur are interested in screening the film but otherwise it will go to DVDs," Paban told reporters here.

Documentary films find it hard to get a theatrical release in India but Paban said that the film had a message which should reach people.

The director seemed disappointed that not many people saw the movie, which he made to help Pradeep in his struggle. The money earned from different awards and DVD sales go to Pradeep, who needs nutrition supplements to continue his effort even as he fights the deadly disease.

Paban said that his friends from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute pitched in with the money and even the cameraman did not charge for the two year long work.

"It took two years to make the film but my friends were very helpful. They all wanted Pradeep's story to be told to the world and it is an effort to help Pradeep because he needs about Rs 40,000 every month to spend on his supplements," the director said.

Pradeep was detected with HIV in 2000 but decided to go public with his disease in 2007 after winning a medal in the Mr India competition.

"My family has supported me throughout, that is why I am standing here. But when my closest of friends came to know about it they left me and that's when I decided to do something that even they could not do. I wanted to prove that a person living with HIV AIDS can lead a normal life. I will be happy if my story helps fight the stigma. All we need is moral support from society," said Pradeep.

Paban continues to travel with his film and even though he seemed disappointed with the poor turnout at the screening, he is confident that the film will help take the message forward.
IFFI this year has two stories about AIDS. Apart from 'Mr India', the festival is also screening 'Going the Distance', a 24-minute documentary by Tiainla Jamir, which shows a woman's journey right from the day when she discovers her HIV positive status.


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