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September 10, 2007

Indian Filmmakers Tackle AIDS In New Project

Nearly a dozen of India’s top directors have put together an 80-minute film, AIDS JaaGo, to raise the country’s AIDS awareness and to generate hope for those who already have the virus.

AIDS JaaGo, which premiered yesterday at the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival, is a compilation of short stories centering on HIV/AIDS. Filmmakers were given the opportunity to tackle HIV in any fashion they wished. Vishal Bharadwaj’s segment, “Blood Brother,” tells the story of a young man who finds out he has a brother through an HIV test. Another segment, directed by Santosh Sivan, follows a young boy trying to find his mother, who is dying of an AIDS-related illness.

Director Mira Nair, who is currently working on the $100 million Hollywood film Shantaram, with Johnny Depp, had asked members of the cast to appear in her segment but received a multitude of excuses. Nair believes that this reluctance can be attributed to stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

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