Short films aim to create dialogue with youths

Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar
Friday, 29 March 2019

Alok Rajwade, Mrunmayee Godbole have acted in the #safejourneys films enabling decision making in youths today

PUNE: Prayas Health Group, an advocacy group focusing on gender, sexuality and HIV has come up with a series of short films based on various aspects associated with sexuality and decision making to enable youths to assess the risks and benefits associated with their behaviour and enable them to take their own decisions. 

These eight films that are made under project Technopeer or #safejourneys are on topics like safe sex, decision making, abortion-seeking proper medical care, consent, child sexual abuse, self-image, porn addiction and depression. 

Interestingly, Unlike few movies made around these topics which end up being some preaching material that is often not taken seriously by the focus group, these movies strike a chord with urban youths and their issues pertaining to sexual behaviour. 

Alok Rajwade and Varun Narvekar have directed two films each. City-based filmmaker Anupam Barve who has directed four films in this series while speaking to Sakal Times said that anything related to sex is always looked through a moral lens, so many misconceptions about sex and sexuality do not get addressed the way they should have been. Barve added, “We hope that these set of eight films will develop a dialogue or even a debate on sexuality.”  

Barve emphasised the need for normalising the conversation on sexuality. Barve said that trigger of making these eight short films around these topics came while researchers associated with Prayas Health Group conducted interviews of unmarried youths between the age group of 20-29 years of age. 

Shirish Darak, a Senior Researcher at Prayas Health Group, said, “These films are part of the project sanctioned by UK-based organisation, VIV Health care. Under their programme, positive action for adolescents to prepare audio-visual material for youth to address issues related to sexuality.” 

He added, “While providing clinical care to youths, the NGO volunteers realised that the issues faced by young population are fast changing in the urban context and migration. Hence, NGO decided to undertake life course research project, named ‘Youth In Transition’ to look at sexuality in order to find out how it is linked with other domains.”

Darak added, “This study is trying to unravel whether and how childhood or past incidents set the course of relationships in future.” 

Darak said hat this highlighted the fact that there is no space available where people can share their experiences related to sexuality without fearing to be judged. 

Ritu Parchure, a Senior Researcher at the NGO, said, “The episodes are realistic and we feel that there will be more acceptance as the content of these films focus on self-efficacy. The emphasis is being given to make the information relatable without making it judgemental.”

While speaking about these films, Darak said that these films will be available on social media but they will be also made available to NGOs working in the field of gender and sexuality in Pune District. Darak said that the NGO would take feedback on whether those who watch these films observe any change in their attitude or decision making. Darak said that the decision to use this material for advocacy purpose will be made after analysing the initial response. 

- Renowned actors like Alok Rajwade, Mrunmayee Godbole, Parna Pethe, Suvrat Joshi and many others have acted in these eight movies 
- These movies will be uploaded on Prayas Health Groups YouTube channel on every Wednesday for eight consecutive weeks. 
- Shirish Darak, Senior Researcher Prayas Health Group shared that majority of 1,240 youths who participated in the research which involved facing the series of questions for one and half hours and shared that they felt unburdened after answering the questions.

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