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A film documenting the HIV struggle and stigma

Watch Dr Nagesh : The Stigma and Realities of Living with HIV, directed by Vincent Detours and Dominique Henry

Watch Dr Nagesh : The Stigma and Realities of Living with HIV, directed by Vincent Detours and Dominique Henry

What happens when a scientist, passionate about research and a filmmaker get together? They create stories documenting real life journeys. That is exactly what happened when Vincent Detours met Dominique Henry, a filmmaker. The two Belgians have made eight films so far including Bombay Workers. Dr Nagesh, which is set in Mumbai chronicles the life of the titular doctor who works with HIV and AIDS patients. Co-produced by Good and Bad News and the Brussels Audiovisual Centre, it is written and directed by Detours and Henry. The story revolves around the trauma and stigma AIDS patients go through. While some abandon their wives, others continue to live with and infect their spouses.

The gut-wrenching film captures hard-hitting reality with its cinematography. Emotions are captured in a patient’s hands, drooping shoulders or torn shoes. Visuals are stirring — be it a pregnant woman infected with HIV, or a three-year-old girl who comes for testing. It shows how Dr Nagesh and his team ease the suffering of the patients by treating them at his clinic and making house calls.

The poster of the film

Detours says they were working on another documentary on HIV drugs in 2000. “It was a time when India was making headway in creating effective drugs to fight HIV. We came to India then to visit the drug industries and met Dr Nagesh, an exceptional doctor. He was so inspiring that we decided to make a film about him.” A scientist and a specialist in cancer research, Detours says he took to filmmaking out of passion. “We started off wanting to make a scientific film about HIV drugs. We switched track when we realised that not many could afford or have access to HIV drugs as at that time it was one of the most expensive drugs.” The duo stayed in India for four years. and spent a lot of time with Nagesh. “We shot at his work place and ended up with seven hours of footage. It took us a year to make Dr Nagesh,” says Detours.

Dr Nagesh will be screened at Vikalp on June 24 at 6.30 pm at Bangalore International Centre (BIC).

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