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  • Writer's pictureRamachandran Srinivasan

World Cancer Day: Archana Puran Singh & Kumud Mishra in Hum Dono, a short on affordable cancer care

On World Cancer Day watch writer-director Mahesh Nair’s ‘Hum Dono’ - a short film about the tribulations of Saroj (Archana Puran Singh) and Ajitpal Mann (Kumud Mishra) as they contend with the latter's cancer ailment. An impassioned depiction of the plight of the cancer-afflicted, this short film brings to the fore the struggles of those who can’t afford cancer care.

Focused on creating and promoting entertainment on social change, Mumbai based Civic Studios urges viewers to watch the film. The film highlights the anguish that lakhs of low income groups (LIG)/ poor Indians face every year as they not only grapple with high costs for their cancer treatment but also giving up hope: just like the character Ajitpal does in Hum Dono.

Based on a sordid but true story that occurred in Haryana in 2019, ‘Hum Dono’ draws its audience towards the overpowering sense of helplessness that compelled cancer patient Ajitpal Mann to partake in an illicit scheme, all in the hope of leaving his wife with death benefits applicable on his life insurance policy. Understanding the power of such media in increasing social awareness, Mahesh Nair and Civic Studios promote this film on the extreme steps poor Indians suffering from cancer are coerced into, and thereby drawing their attention to the pervasive problem of expensive cancer care treatment in our country.

The protagonist’s role is played by revered actor Kumud Mishra, who is complemented by acclaimed actress Archana Puran Singh. ‘Hum Dono’ has been poignantly directed by Mahesh Nair, who has directed several acclaimed documentaries. Available on AppleTV and Civic Studios Instagram page, ‘Hum Dono’ has been garnering rave reviews.

Archana Puran Singh who has surprised everyone with her role in this film says, “ In Hum Dono, I play the role of Saroj, living in a small village in Hissar. My husband (played by Kumud Mishra) suffers from terminal cancer. We are faced with the dilemma of how to carry on with our lives because of the high cost of treatment for cancer. What was a role for me is sadly a reality for lakhs of people in rural India. I hope and pray that no one has to go through what Saroj underwent. Films like Hum Dono are raising awareness about this pressing social issue. But it is up to us to act on it.”

Adds well known actor Kumud Mishra, “ Hum Dono is our effort to make a short dramatic film with a social message. There are lakhs of families in India whose lives have been impacted by cancer. If this film creates awareness in even one person, then our efforts are not in vain.”

“In many cases cancer is not life threatening. But the medical care required does threaten our livelhoods. If we have better health infrastructure, especially in rural Indian, we can save so many lives. With Hum Dono my effort was to make a story that is gripping but also one that calls out for action,” says director Mahesh Nair.

Commenting on the film and its larger social impact, Anushka Shah, Founder- Civic Studios, added "This World Cancer Day, we wanted to bring to light the issue of cancer affordability in India and Hum Dono portrays the same very effectively. The short film delicately portrays the saga of a terminally ill cancer patient and aims to destigmatize the deceased that were involved in the 2019 Haryana insurance scam. We are certain that this movie will help create conversations and encourage viewers to raise further awareness about cancer affordability in India”

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