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It’s not my story, I just compiled it: Filmmaker Sid Ghosh on animated film on breast cancer

The film draws on Hindu mythology to talk about the demon of the disease till the woman realizes that she is not a victim, she is shakti (power).

Stree Shakti: The Art of Fighting Breast Cancer

Ramna Walia

Director Sid Ghosh’s inspirational short film, Stree Shakti: The Art of Fighting Breast Cancer, was screened at the 5th Woodpecker International Film Festival on Saturday (12 November) in New Delhi.

Stree Shakti is an animated film and uses visual animation (primarily illustrations) and voice-over narration to show both, the physical and emotional scarring, and demonstrate the unwanted agony and grief, but ultimately celebrates the resilience and courage of a woman’s spirit. The film draws on Hindu mythology to talk about the demon of the disease till the woman realizes that she is not a victim, she is shakti (power).

Breast cancer is the most predominant and malignant form of cancers among women in India. In recent years, many public service advertisements and films have dealt with the issue sensing a need to raise awareness regarding early detection and screening processes.

The project started with an artwork for artist-turned-designer-turned filmmaker, Ghosh. Speaking to Cinestaan after the film's screening, Ghosh said, “It started as illustrations of a woman without her hair, without her eyelashes. After speaking to a few doctors, I added the stages of the disease and decided to make a film instead.”

Ghosh infused a health service awareness film with strong emotional tone and employed melodrama to convey this journey of a woman from the discovery of the disease and emotional turmoil she undergoes, based on the many interactions he had with patients and doctors.

Sid Ghosh at Woodpecker International Film Festival 2017

On his interactions with patients, Ghosh contended, "A lot of patients, especially women, are often neglected by family members. A woman is only seen as a commodity or a thing of beauty. I met a woman in AIIMS who had long hair but she had facial paralysis. I asked why it happened, if it was an aftereffect of the treatment. She told me that her husband came to know about the disease after a few months of marriage and filed for divorce. Then there are other stories, tales of encouragement and support from family. It’s not my story, I just compiled it."

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Woodpecker International Film Festival