The Indian Medical Association has strongly criticised the recently released Malayalam movie, Joseph, for showing organ donation in poor light. An official with the Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association has said that the film has come at a time when organ donors are already hard to come by, and the depiction will only dissuade the public from signing up for it.
Dr Jacob told Silverscreen that the irresponsible and inaccurate portrayal of organ donation in cinema could prove to be damaging for the health sector. “There must be some truth to the way certain hospital procedures are depicted onscreen. When there’s inaccuracy, and in such a blatant way, then it gives room for fear and paranoia among the people. We are trying to create better awareness among the people about organ donation. At this point, films like Joseph come with a wrong idea of the whole process and can potentially undo the kind of work we’ve been doing.”
Joseph and Benyamin’s book, ‘Sharira Shasthiram’, show corruption in the organ donation market. In Joseph, potential organ donors are killed in staged accidents. Their organs are then sold to international patients. Poor people at the top of the receivers’ list are subjected to fake surgeries.
In conversation with The News Minute, director M Padmakumar, who helmed Joseph, said:
“How do you show the no-smoking ad? By showing a person who smokes and the harm it causes. The film has also been shot with a similar idea. There are films that have shown the good side of organ donation, like Traffic. The public are aware. And Joseph is not an attempt to show the idea of organ donation in a bad light, but to give a warning.”
But Dr Jacob is not convinced. “Many organisations are working together to make sure that people are aware of organ donation. In India, getting people to sign up as a donor is particularly difficult as many of our cultures have myths that such a thing could be harmful for our soul. When we try hard to dissuade them out of this path, we see a popular filmmaker use this in a way that could make people paranoid.”