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A Special Film - Behind the Scenes of 7 Lives

A couple of years ago filmmaker Runjiv Kapur told me about a heartbreaking incident in north India. A young girl had been shot and brought into a reputed hospital 'brain dead'. The girl's parents, as can be imagined, were overwhelmed and devastated. The hospital authorities were aware of the sensitive situation and yet they could not let go of the opportunity to help people who were desperately in need of organ transplants.

They approached the grief-stricken parents and requested them to consider donating her organs. That one decision could help give a new lease of life to seven people. The window of opportunity was short -- as the transplants needed to happen within a few hours of brain death.

The parents found it in their hearts to overcome their personal loss and willingly agreed to donate their child's organs. The processes were put in place. The hospital went ahead with the procedures but at the eleventh hour some community leaders came to know of this and raised objections on the grounds of religion and tradition.

This is the heartbreaking reality of India, ostensibly modern, and yet caught up with medieval values.  While researching the story, I talked to a heart surgeon who specializes in transplants and he sadly pointed out that organ donations, even in the big metros, is rare. 7 Lives, a short film based on this true story, is an effort to create awareness about the important subject of organ donation.

It's a very special film for me also for the fact that it is my first produced screenplay. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to bring this issue to light. The film is being screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival, 2018 today and has been honored with a Special Jury Award at the 7th Delhi Shorts International Film Festival, 2018.

Here's hoping that the film will touch more lives and bring about a change in mindsets.

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#7Lives is now streaming on Amazon Prime US and UK

  If I'm absolutely honest I'm often discouraged by just how difficult the screenwriting journey is. Staying positive over months and years, slogging away at scripts, pitching producers and agents and dealing with rejections can be exhausting. I have often been tempted to throw in the towel. What has stopped me from doing it?  Well, the sheer compulsion of writing a story that's visual and visceral. 7 Lives was one such script. It is based on the true story of a young girl whose parents want to overcome the pain of losing their most precious daughter by remembering her in a way that would give meaning to her life and theirs. They wanted to donate her organs but alas their wish was never to be fulfilled.  When Runjiv J Kapur, my filmmaker friend, approached me to write the script based on this story for a short film, I was excited but also a bit scared. Would I be able to do justice to the story? For me, 7 Lives will always be special. Not only because it was a subject that