Censor Board doesn’t want our country to know the truth of unethical and illegal drug trials,’ says Director Rajat S Mukherjee
In what is the first big controversy for newly appointed Censor Board Chief Mr. Prasoon Joshi, the makers of upcoming film ‘Umeed’ are upset with the Board’s refusal to give a U/A certificate to the film. What has angered the makers more is that no explanation has been given by the Board for its refusal.
Director Rajat S Mukherjee says, “We have a letter from the Board that gives no reasons why our film hasn’t been granted a U/A certification. We have just been told to make the necessary cuts in order to get an A certification. We are left with no options. We thought things would improve for the industry after Mr. Prasoon Joshi’s appointment.”
What has left the Umeed team feeling helpless and angered is that the Board is asking them to remove the part that says ‘inspired by real incidents’. Given that ‘Umeed’ deals with various aspects of unethical drug trials and is based on years of research, the makers find this stipulation by the Censor Board highly illogical.
48,000 children paralyzed forever, 11,500 children dead. Unethical drug trials in India have become an epidemic that no one seems to be talking about. Foreign pharmaceuticals continue to conduct these unethical trials and children continue to die.
Producer Amrit Sethia adds, “Why would the Board want us to remove the part about being inspired by real incidents? Right from the time we decided to make this film, we knew there would be many who don’t want the truth of unethical drug trials to come out. But we didn’t think we would face pressure from the Censor Board.” He adds, we have asked CBFC to reconsider their decision and are trying to get in touch with Mr. Prasoon Joshi also and are still awaiting their response.
Adds Rajat S Mukherjee, “Umeed exposes the dark truth of foreign pharmaceutical companies who are exploiting the Indian population in the garb of vaccination programs and treatments. The nexus between our politicians, doctors, and these pharmaceutical giants is what Umeed is trying to expose. There is nothing obscene in the film or something that shouldn’t be shown to the younger set of audience. In fact, every Indian should watch Umeed and realize that Indian Lives Matter and that this practice has to stop!”
Through the perspective of the protagonist Mia (Pallavi Das), Umeed shows how Pharma giants use celebrities to give “unethical clinical trials” a mask of vaccination programs. On the other hand, through its other leads playing the characters of activists (Mohan Kapur, Yatin Karyekar and Anjali Patil), who are relentlessly fighting for the cause, the film establishes the point of view of the NGOs.
The perspective of the medical fraternity, the investigating agencies and above all the Law, are debated to perfection by characters played by Milind Gunaji, Dalip Tahil, Freddy Daruwala and Shishir Sharma.
Additionally, the roles of a Media Craftsman and an Image Manager are well essayed by Harsh Chhaya and Achint Kaur.
India’s very first medical thriller bears testimony to truth being stranger than fiction.
Produced by Welcome Friends Productions, Umeed was scheduled to release end of September but now it has been pushed ahead till the censor issue is resolved.