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Keep your voice alive while telling a story: Mira Nair


Filmmaker Mira Nair said in an interview that even with all pulls and pressures of making a film, keep your voice alive with entertainment.

The maker of several critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful movies such as “Monsoon Wedding” (2001), “Salaam Bombay” (1988), “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” (1996) and “Mississippi Masala” (1991), is currently busy with the post-production of her new film “Queen of Katwe”.

Nair said, “There are commercial pulls, of course, when you are helming a film. And bigger the project, the greater the number of people you are answerable to. But in the midst of all this, I always try to keep my voice alive. As the director of a film, as the story teller, you have to keep your voice alive.’’

Her film “Queen of Katwe”, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, is a biography on the life of Phiona Mutesi, an 11-year-old Ugandan girl who coincidentally walks into a chess school in her city, develops a passion for the game, and goes on to become a world class player at a very young age. The movie is set to be released in October this year, stars Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.

“When I heard the story from a Disney representative, I was like ‘That’s my stuff’, and I instantly agreed to direct the film,” said Nair.

The National Award winning director who is known for the bold theme and treatment of the story said, “I don’t think boldness should be associated with showing off the skin. It’s not the basis of boldness. I think there is a lot bolder thinking that is now in the cinema here.”

“Also, the craft and quality have seen miles of improvement. In earlier days we had to be apologetic about the standard of things, but now we are as good as anyone else. That is just really exciting,” she added.

Explaining on one of her films “Kama Sutra”, which caused an uproar in the 1990s, she said, “Yes, definitely I would make it very differently because the world has changed and I have grown. But, yes, censorship is still there. That has not changed here, and that is incredible. Not just in cinema but in society as well. In that sense, it’s not the most open place we have been in.’’

Nair looks film as a medium of bringing about positive change in society. She also runs a film training institute called Maisha Film Lab in Uganda.

“It’s really for you to say. But I think in terms of activism associated with my films, be it Salaam Baalak Trust or Maisha, taking the idea of cinema as a way to change people, I feel heartened. I am glad that we have impacted thousands of lives,” Nair said.

She is amazed if you can create a platform where people can start to talk again.

“That’s extraordinary. So that is the power sometimes you are privileged to have had, and that is the power of cinema that can keep on going,” she added.(IANS)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS