‘The Vaccine War’ based on Lucknow doc Dr Balram Bhargava’s book - Hindustan Times
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‘The Vaccine War’ based on Lucknow doc Dr Balram Bhargava’s book

Oct 04, 2023 07:38 AM IST

‘The Vaccine War’ echoes the sentiment that “we can fight this war with science” and emphasises that “this is not a bio war; this is an info war.

LUCKNOW A cinematic tribute to India’s relentless battle against the Covid-19 pandemic has arrived with ‘The Vaccine War,’ the latest film directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri. What makes this bioscience film particularly special is its deep-rooted connection to Lucknow, as it draws inspiration from the book “Going Viral - Making of Covaxin: The Inside Story,” authored by Lucknow’s own Dr Balram Bhargava, the former Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). ‘The Vaccine War’ premiered in the last week of September.

The Vaccine War (Movie poster)
The Vaccine War (Movie poster)

Dr Bhargava, an alumnus of La Martinière College, expressed his admiration for the film, stating, “The film beautifully highlights the hard work of the Indian scientists who worked tirelessly to produce a mass-level vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.” He reminisced about his own school days at La Martinière College, where he studied between 1967 and 1973.

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“The filmmakers approached us to seek consent for this project, and I must say they have done an excellent job,” added Dr Bhargava, who led India’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The movie effectively portrays the dedication of the scientists who developed our indigenous vaccine.”

Dr Bhargava also emphasised the importance of watching the film, stating, “Everyone must watch the movie to witness how Indian scientists toiled during the crisis to create an indigenous vaccine, which is now being exported to over 100 countries.” Presently serving as the chief at the Cardiothoracic Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi, he highlighted India’s remarkable self-reliance across various fields during the pandemic.

“Our scientists and doctors’ outstanding research work made us self-sufficient in vaccine development, solidifying India’s position as a leading pharmaceutical market in the world,” noted Dr Bhargava, who has also served as the former secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

In recognition of his contributions, Dr Bhargava was honoured in the Memorial Hall of the College with the Padma Shri for Medicine in 2014. The movie features references to his schooling at La Martinière College and his involvement in other educational institutions such as Colvin Taluqdar’s College (1974-79) and KGMC (1979-90).

‘The Vaccine War’ echoes the sentiment that “we can fight this war with science” and emphasises that “this is not a bio war; this is an info war.” The film, based on the book “Going Viral” by Prof. Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is an inspiring ode to shift the spotlight from naysayers to celebrating the efforts of unsung heroes, frontline workers, and relentless scientists who worked tirelessly for months to create India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin.

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