[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 13:03 GMT
Church makes Bollywood Aids film
By Zubair Ahmed
BBC News, Mumbai

Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt has helped with the production
Bollywood and the Roman Catholic Church in India have jointly produced a commercial film highlighting the problem of Aids.

The film Aisa Kyon Hota Hai (Why Does This Happen?) with the Bollywood staple of music and dance, is releasing across India on Friday.

Father Dominic Emmanuel, who wrote the screenplay, says the church was worried about India's eroding values.

India has five million HIV-positive people, official statistics show.

The film highlights the dangers of risky sex
Father Dominic Emmanuel

This is the first time cinemas in Indian cities will show a commercial film produced by a religious institution.

India's Roman Catholic Church has been worried about the breakdown in inter-community relationship and the rapid spread of Aids in the country.

India has the world's highest number of HIV-positive cases, after South Africa.

Father Dominic says the church chose to spread their message through the popular medium of Bollywood because of its wide reach.

He believes the film - made in collaboration with YMCA and some other non-government organisations - is not preachy but has a strong message.

"The film highlights the dangers of risky sex," he says.

It also spreads the message of religious harmony in a country which has experienced Hindu-Muslim clashes and where attacks on churches and Christians have been on the rise in recent years.

'Not Preachy'

Bollywood heroine Rati Agnihotri, who made her debut in 1981 with the hit film Ek Duje Ke Liye (For Each Other), plays the role of a single mother who raises her son.

Newcomer Aryan Vaid, plays the role of the son who contracts Aids through unsafe sex.

It also features music from well-known singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik.

The low budget film cost nearly $288,000 and the controversial film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, whose films are known for steamy, bold scenes, has helped with the production.

The money made from the film will be spent on good causes, Father Emmanuel says.

Christians make up about two per cent of India's population of more than one billion people.

Bollywood stars in BBC Aids show
09 Feb 06 |  South Asia
Bollywood film tackles Aids taboo
24 Aug 04 |  South Asia
HIV message Bollywood-style
08 Dec 03 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific