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Kaasav is about a journey from pessimism to optimism, says director Sunil Sukthankar

Sunil Sukthankar and Sumitra Bhave's acclaimed film was released on SonyLIV on 8 October, four years after its theatrical release.

Suyog Zore

Everything happens for a reason, they say. The late Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar's critically acclaimed National award-winning film Kaasav (2017), which talks about depression, was released on the SonyLIV OTT platform on Friday 8 October, almost exactly four years after its theatrical release on 6 October 2017.

Although the makers had been trying to get the film released on OTT for the past three years, ironically there couldn't have been a better time for its wider release than now. 

Depression has been a major mental health problem for the past few years all over the world, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem. According to new research, global cases of depression and anxiety have increased by more than a quarter throughout 2020 owing to the pandemic. Countries hit hardest by COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions have seen the most increase in mental health disorders. And in this difficult phase, SonyLIV has released a film that might help people going through depression find some solace and refuge.

Like the cinephiles who missed out on watching this film in theatres due to its limited release, director Sukthankar was waiting eagerly for the film to become accessible to a wider audience. "I'm glad that after four years' wait, we are getting a chance to show our film to the audience thanks to SonyLIV, and the best part is, it's releasing in the same week as World Mental Health Day [10 October].

"The process of releasing a film changed after multiplexes came. Before multiplexes, we could show our films in theatres for many days and weeks, but not any more. Nowadays we only get a few days to attract the audience and if they don't watch it in those few days, they lose the chance to watch it.

"Many complained to us that they could not watch it [when it was released in theatres] and why don't we release it on a streaming platform? So we had been talking to different channels for a few years. Finally it has been released on SonyLIV. I'm glad people are finally getting the chance to watch our film."

Sumitra Bhave (1943–2021): Filmmaker who continued her social work through cinema

Depression is the main topic of the film. But it also depicts the journey of a character from one state of mind to another without any dramatic moments. "We have been working with the younger generations since we started our film careers," Sukthankar said. "There are a lot of youngsters in our team, so we know how serious this topic of depression is. We have experienced it closely.

"Unlike other diseases, there are no visible signs of depression unless you look closely. You might go months or sometimes even years without realizing that you have fallen for this illness, Youngsters who are going through depression look healthy and suddenly we find out someone has committed suicide. Then people blame the parents or the children.

"We felt that we need to address this issue sincerely because it will be helpful for these youngsters and their parents in understanding what exactly they are going through."

Though the film is about depression and how it affects even healthy people, the director duo consciously tried to make it more uplifting  "Sumitra maushi [aunty] and I had decided that we will not make a depressing movie. We wanted the audience to leave the theatres with optimism. So Kaasav is about a journey from pessimism to optimism. For this, we also shot the film in a picturesque location in Konkan. It also had soothing music and beautiful cinematography."

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