A not-so-sweet Chasni wins IIT-B student accolades in Melbourne
India in the recent past has emerged as a country unsafe for women. Domestic Violence, assault, molestation, rape, acid attacks etc. have now become everyday news for us. We read these headlines, feel pity for the victims and forget the same. But an IIT Bombay student took an initiative towards creating an awareness in the society by making a film on a morbid acid attack story. An animation film by this IIT Bombay student on the last year’s acid attack at Mumbai’s Bandra railway station, has won him the Best Short Film Award at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2014, and also holds a nomination at the World Festival of Animation going to be held in Croatia.
On 1st May 2013, acid was thrown on the face of Preeti Rathi, 25, as she was alighting at Bandra station. Preeti was to join the Colaba Naval hospital as a staff nurse, but little did she know that it was the end of her dreams for a bright future. But Preeti did not give up the fight that easily. Her family said, she was at the hospital for a month during which, she lost vision in one eye and also lost her speech completely. The acid had burnt her internal organs too. Though Preeti was a fighter, but sensing her nearing death, she immortalized herself by scribbling one or two notes every day for her family, till her last day.
Filmmaker Abhishek Verma, 22, said that he was moved by the scanned images which the victim used to draw to communicate. All these he saw in a leading newspaper, which started publishing the images of the sketches and writings she made to communicate, as she could not speak because the acid went into her food pipe. Abhishek is a final year masters’ student at Industrial Design Centre at the IIT Bombay.
Abhishek started following the nearly one month long series of publication, and was overwhelmed at the suffering of people who have been ill-treated or disfigured by acid-attack. During that period, Abhishek was working on his project of making a short animation film on some other topics. But after this incidence, he dropped all the other topics and decided that he needs to make a film on discrimination to acid attack victims and their sufferings, as an eye opener to the society.
The five minutes and five second duration film named ‘Chasni’ (means The Sugar Syrup) has 1, 200 sequences of drawings done by the IIT Bombay genius. Abhishek completed the film in November and on the insistence of his friends sent it to the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2014.
Giving details about his film Abhishek says that the film is not about the violence done in the form of an acid attack, but about how such victims are discriminated by the society. According to him, it is the mistake of the society that such a crime takes place and thus it is a resultant of our mistakes that many such victims of disfigurement are suffering today in the country. The sole purpose of the film is to create a sense of introspection on this aspect among the masses.
The film ends with a message which says that there are 9, 000 such victims but are not seen in public. And why is it so? Where are these people? “They can’t come out because of the treatment they get” says Abhishek. He is now making another animation film on the issues people face in the name of homosexuality.