The United Nations Office for Project Services and the Ministry of Health have come together for a campaign against prenatal sex determination tests. Two 60-second TV films and two radio spots are expected to start airing in about two weeks. This marks the comeback of ace cinematographer-director Ashok Mehta who has been battling cancer. Satyaprakash Gupta is the associate director.
Music director Nikhil Kamath says that Aamir Khan’s talk show, Satyamev Jayate, whose first episode focused on female foeticide and, through a sting operation exposed illegal sex determination clinics, could have been the trigger for this Save The Girl Child campaign.
“Aamir’s show is aired on Doordashan and reaches the interiors. Suddenly, everyone has woken up to the issue. That includes the UN and our government,” he says.
Nikhil has composed three songs for the films produced by Delhi-based company, Suraj Johnson Productions and leading ad agency, R.K. Swamy. One of them, Ladka Hi Kyun, Ladki Kyun Nahin sung by Javed Ali and Anee Chatterjee is set in a college canteen and starts with a student saying, ‘Kal ka TV show dekha? Har koi beta hi kyun chahta hai?
(Did you watch yesterday’s TV show, why does everyone want a boy?)’
“That could be a reference to Aamir’s show and the setting is a deliberate move to get young people involved,” he says. “Javed and Anee’s radio jingle, Yuva Soch Ne Diya Hai is also very youth-oriented.”
Another song, Betiya, moved Shankar Mahadevan so much that he sang the radio jingle for free. The second TV film about a father confessing to his daughter who has just won a scholarship in the US that he was under pressure to abort her, has only Nikhil’s background score with a voice-over by a Bollywood celebrity. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Lara Dutta are some of the names on the list.
“It’s great that Suraj Kumar (proprietor Suraj Johnson Productions) has roped in Ashok Mehta and A-list Bollywood technicians for a government public health campaign that enhances the quality and grabs eyeballs,” says Nikhil. “The films may be aired in theatres too.”