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Short film on elderly bags three awards

Short film on elderly bags three awards
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Short film on elderly bags three awards

Highlights

The short film ‘Poonam’ has bagged awards for ‘Best Film, Best Actress and Best Actor at the 7th Art Independent International Film Festival.

Bengaluru: The short film 'Poonam' has bagged awards for 'Best Film, Best Actress and Best Actor at the 7th Art Independent International Film Festival.

The idea of the movie germinated from the Bengaluru based film producer and voice coach Shilpi Das Chohan's visit to the old age homes and retirement communities.

Talking to The Hans India, Chohan says, "Most of them stay alone, with their children spread across the globe, leading lonely lives, yearning for companionship. All they need is someone to talk to. Though they do not express their feelings, they suffer from loneliness which is a disease in itself and as children, most of us are not aware of it. Loneliness ushers in more physiological diseases that cause premature death."

Three years after conceiving the idea and the story, the 16-minute film was created.

"Elder loneliness is a never-ending story. The passion that we have for the cause of elderly-care gave us great insights into their suffering due to loneliness. We wanted to tell their story to the world and we chose the medium of films to do so. Making a film is a complicated affair, however, if made well, films are a strong medium to tell impactful stories leaving a mark on the viewer's heart and mind," she says.

Directed by Sanjay Sanwal, the Meeta Vasisht and Rajit Kapur starrer revolves around two senior citizens, Poonam and Suraj who are abandoned and alone.

At an age when they were expected to be taken care of, they find themselves abandoned and alone. Quite relevant and prevalent in today's world when grownup children look to greener pastures and abandon their parents due to circumstances or pure neglect.

"The whole purpose of the film is to showcase that our elders should have the chance to live a fulfilled life. This is a 16-minute social film with a strong message about lost love. It is about how we neglect our elders unintentionally, about their loneliness and sense of loss. They may be financially secure but lead insecure lives, lacking emotional companionship. It is about acknowledging their right to choose to live their lives on their own terms. The film's purpose is to inspire the society towards a progressive outlook about elderly companionship," Chohan adds.

Executive Producer, Anil Kumar P says, "Poonam is an effort to spread awareness of this silent disease - 'loneliness' that can exponentially improve the chances of disease and death, prematurely." Though the idea was formed in 2015, the challenge of finding funds and the right protagonists was a challenge. The work began in September 2019 and the shooting was completed in October 2019. Post production had to be done in bits and pieces and they finished that in October 2020.

One of the most critical aspects of film-making is to decide on the artists who can do justice to the characters of the story and carry it on their shoulders by transforming themselves into those characters.

"We started our search from the select few we shortlisted. Most of them showed little or no interest. Firstly because we weren't a production house that had a repertoire of such projects, secondly 'Elderly Care' is a cause that is ignored and not given the due attention it deserves, and thirdly our director wasn't well-known yet. It was essential that our audiences connected with the artists playing Poonam and Suraj. Only then the story would reach far and wide and evoke a wave of introspection," she says.

The movie also received Award of Recognition from Accolade Global Film Festival - La Jolla - CA | USA.

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