Bollywood stars and online gaming are adding the much-needed zing to the National AIDS Control Organisation’s (NACO) AIDS awareness campaign. Bollywood biggies such as lyricist Gulzar, music director Shantanu Moitra (of Parineeta and Munnabhai fame), and filmmakers Mira Nair, Vishal Bharadwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar are on board to compose lyrics and make short films on HIV/AIDS.
Bollywood stars, both young and the not-so-young, are among the cast of the films made to dismantle the misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. “The idea is to spread awareness through entertainment and partners such as Avahan – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s India Initiative -- have roped in many big names,” says Sujatha Rao, director general, NACO. Vishal Bharadwaj’s film Blood Brothers, for example, stars Siddhartha (Rang de Basanti) as a man who is diagnosed HIV positive and watches his life fall apart. Mira Nair’s Migration is about the AIDS virus being a great class leveller.
Interactive games developed by the US-based Johns Hopkins University are available free on online gaming websites such as zapak.com. “It is about an AIDS research scientist trying to escape from an international gang, embedded with HIV information,” says Mayank Agarwal, joint director, NACO.