Producer-director Sona Jain’s debut, international award-winning film, For Real, hasn’t been released but is already making an impact in the education sector, among principals, counselors, teachers as well as parents.
The film is the story of a six-year-old girl, played by debutante Zoya Hassan, who witnesses dischord in her family and withdraws into a fantasy world where she believes her mother is an alien, and runs away to find her ‘real’ mother.
Jain, who hails from Delhi, has already shown the film, to over 15 schools there, including renowned ones like Step By Step World School and Vasant Valley School, and is now screening the film for free in schools in Mumbai.
Says Jain, “My motivation is to take the message of the film that speaks in favour of children, in their own voice, directly to people who count the most in the lives of a child — teachers and parents.”
The director, who wrote the film while she was a student at film school, Tisch School of The Arts at the New York University, has personally contacted schools across Indian metros. She says, “I’m heartened to see the commitment that progressive schools have shown to the welfare of their children. Premiere institutions like Step by Step World School are recommending the film to their parent bodies.”
Jain recently held a screening for Bombay International School, and is organising more for other leading schools like Campion School, JB Petit High School and The Cathedral and John Connon School.
Gunjan Grover Gupta, clinical psychologist and school counselor at many of these Mumbai schools, who has seen the film, says, “For Real precisely and sensitively depicts urban lives, how children feel and react and the mechanics of families today. I see such behavior daily. The film is a reminder to adults of how sensitive kids are and how it is important to provide them with a happy environment.”
Pyschiatrist and family expert Dr Anjali Chhabria was also shown the film and she says, “The film shows the world through the eyes of a child and that makes it beautiful. It is a must watch for all, especially parents, who try to give their children everything they didn’t get as children, but forget to give them time.”
Jain will continue screening the film to schools even after its release on September 17. “I feel that the eight years spent making this film will be worthwhile once I have ensured as many parents as possible have seen this film,” she says.