“The Cover Page”

Early this week I had been to a movie on the invitation of the actor-producer-director who had made it. She was Roopa Iyer, a young and energetic lady who seemed passionate about what she was doing. She had invited me to come and see the premiere of the movie. This was not just another commercial movie, and she did not want me to come alone to view it. She made sure that 500 children from our schools and all our programs go along with me.

The movie was titled ‘Mukha puta’ (meaning ‘The Cover Page’) and was in Kannada. This was a movie about a child infected with HIV and shows the courage with which she and her family negotiate through this crisis. I know that a lot is said about HIV/AIDS and it is indeed a much beaten theme. I went into the theatre with skepticism, but I was pleasantly surprised. This movie was a very well made one and it had a strong story-line. The portrayal of the child Bhavathi was very moving and the actor Sanya played it so well. She is indeed a natural and deserves the best child artiste award for this year.

The movie was not just about presenting reality as it was, but was pragmatic in presenting a workable solution to people who are affected by the disease. And more importantly, it made sure that the dignity of the child was maintained and there was no unwanted heart-tugging that normally goes with such movies. There was such a strong message of joy, love and freedom, which is so critical for ensuring that such children get to be treated as equals and are not stigmatized.

What really impressed me was that the movie did not look at the problem in isolation and only as a disease to be treated, but tried to look at the entire ecosystem and how this disease impacts the socio-economic fabric of the society.

Roopa Iyer comes across as a very sensitive, philosophical and passionate activist. She is not just keen on surfacing current societal issues, but is indeed a genuine and warm person who seems to have internalized Swami Vivekananda’s message of living for others. May her tribe increase!