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A docu-drama on fighting breast cancer

Celebs like Lisa Ray, Barbara Mori join hands in MP Priya Dutt's venture on battling cancer in her family. The film raises awareness about the disease. Read on to know how you can help.

entertainment Updated: Oct 22, 2010 13:20 IST
Nikhil Taneja

In an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer, an illness that has recently surpassed cervical cancer as the leading cause of death among metropolitan cities in India, UniGlobe Entertainment Production has produced a docu-drama on the issue, called 1 A Minute.

Directed by Namrata Singh Gujral, the movie has partnered with Priya Dutt’s Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust (NDMCT) in India, and a part of the profits from each ticket sale of the movie, which releases on October 29, will be donated to NDMCT, so it can use the money towards fighting the illness in India.

In the family
Member of Parliament from Mumbai North Central constituency in Maharashtra, Dutt has lost two members of her family to cancer. Her mother, legendary Bollywood actor Nargis Dutt, succumbed to pancreatic cancer, while her sister-in-law Richa Sharma survived cancer, but eventually passed away because of a brain tumour.

Lisa RayDutt says that instead of being depressed, she came out of the incidents a stronger person. "Richa was only in her 30s when she passed away," Dutt reminisces. "She was one of the strongest women I knew. She was beautiful, but cancer treatment had made her look unrecognizable. Even then, she’d laugh and joke about the disease, rather than be upset. And she survived the cancer and went on to live for five more years after that."

“That’s also the message of the film,” she adds. “It’s easy to give up and die, but if you are positive, and if you fight, you can actually survive cancer. It’s all in the mind.”

But Dutt recalls that it was different when her mother passed away. “I was only 13 at that time, too young to deal with it,” she reminisces. “It was a difficult time because we were seeing our mother in a different light, since she was so sick. Yet, our father kept us strong after her death, because he chose to fight the disease by starting NDMCT.

Spreading awareness
“It was something that our mother had said that made him determined to set up the foundation. We had taken her to the USA for her treatment and she would sometimes say that it’s not fair that a lot of people suffering from the disease don’t even have the money to treat it. That’s the worst way to die.”

Thereafter, the NDMCT, set up in 1981, opened various chapters in USA, and then, the rest of the world, so it could raise funds to provide medical facilities and financial aid to make treatment affordable to cancer-striken patients in India. Dutt has been running the trust since the demise of her father, Sunil Dutt.

And just in the last few years, the trust has donated medical equipment to the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, to the Indian Cancer Foundation in Indore and to various other organizations and hospitals that needed the money to treat their cancer patients. The charity also provides financial aids to ensure food, travelling and housing facilities to cancer patients who can’t afford it.

The film
1 A Minute is narrated by Kelly McGillis (of Top Gun fame) and stars international actors like Lisa Ray, Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge, Barbara Mori and director Gujral, who’ve all survived cancer.