Future is unpredictable. Neither did Adam and Eve know of their future nor were their off-springs to know what will become of them. With humanity slowly erasing from the map of the human heart, there are those trying to ignite hope. Many who contribute to the cause as well as the ones who capture it for it to be archived for future viewing; all have their share in standing up for the cause, any cause.
With a tight script, concise presentation and a lesser-known issue, Dylan Mohan Gray greets the Indian audience. The man went global with his documentary, "Fire in the Blood”, which is hailed to be at par with other Oscar contendors. Under the pretext of a patent when western pharmaceutical companies started blocking access to low-cost generic medicines, the victims of AIDS, who could have survived, fell prey to the disease. The third-world countries were shunned, as the profit they gave to these companies was marginal. The medicines that were made available to the public worldwide were expensive, so not many could afford it. Poverty-stricken Africa was hit the hardest. Doctors claim to have seen at least 8-9 deaths in a day. There were those who tried to phrase the issue logically on a global podium, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. The situation was bizarre as each family was believed to have lost every or at least a member per family to the disease. Third-world countries faced what is deemed to be the crisis of humanity and the crime of the century. James P. Love, Zackie Achmat, Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Joseph Stiglitz, Daniel McNeil, Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, William F. Haddad and Yusuf Hamied were amongst the prominent few from diverse fields, culture and environment who understood the sensitivity of the issue and lent their support to humanity.
The clashes between the developed and the developing continued while the dreaded diseases engulfed the lives of many. In between, when it looked to be nearing victory, it turned out that it wasn’t actually anywhere close. The ideologies of Mahatma crooning the hearts of every Indian had lead to the birth of Cipla, a pharmaceutical production plant, which turned out to be a savior in this crisis. Cipla’s Yusuf Hamied put forth the options to help out the third-world countries by imparting knowledge on establishing their generic medicine producing plants, to supply with generic medicines worldwide and to help block the disease from passing on to the child from its mother. Again the pleas fell on deaf ears which were muted by politics and those salivating for profit. Following 9/11, when USA felt the vacuum in the supply of medicines, the patents were called off. Hopes rose only to be bombarded with TRIPS.
This film tackles the issue rudimentarily with stirring images of the impoverished victims, but then, that’s what it is supposed to do. It brings to light the malice and monopoly of the medical world and the numbers shown in the documentary are jarring. This film is a documentation of how money was valued over life, how western world in the name of patent took the life of millions and how nobility was trashed and shunned. The film gradually proceeds to the crux of the issue taking the viewers through the lanes of Africa and India, it doesn’t limit itself to the social cause, but enhances to give the viewers an insight into the global political sphere as well. What it does is, it condemns the inhuman behavior of the profiteers and stands up in support of humanity. With the shift between the countries and the archive footages capturing the placards that read “Patent kills patients” it shows a riot that’s going on between profit and humanity. It sensibly places the message by citing poverty being the only reason for death and how the life-saving drugs are available in the places they are not needed. It does show hope as it climaxes, leaving the viewers with an immensely impactful message, “Help prevent the sequel.”