The worst feeling in the world is being unable to protect the ones we love. And when they are afflicted with an incurable disease, we realize what true powerlessness feels like. In moments of quiet reflection, my grandma often ruminates about the time that began from the day my grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease up until the day he drew his last breath. Without a shadow of a doubt, maladies like Parkinson's cause tremendous pain for the patient. However, an often overlooked aspect of one’s arduous journey battling irremediable diseases is the soul-crushing effect it has on their family. Today we are going to explore a powerful body of work that sheds light on the varied shades of struggles a person and their family deals with while battling a fatal disease.
The best art comes from a personal place; a place of vulnerability. Piano Fingers, a 16-minute short mixed-media film combining animation and motion graphics with live-action footage, directed by Megha Bhaduri and produced by Zain Memon, embodies that statement. It is a poignant and deeply personal exploration of the impact of Huntington's disease which claimed the lives of Megha Bhaduri's father and other members of her family. Armed with a camera, she embarks on a heartfelt journey across India, seeking to understand the terrifying nature of the disease from personal, medical, and societal perspectives. Through intimate interviews with her mother, brother, doctors, and a family grappling with the final stages of the disease, the film delves into the emotional complexities of living with Huntington's, offering a raw and unflinching portrayal of the challenges faced by both patients and their families.
Megha Bhaduri, in an interview with Cinema Express, in 2018
As Megha bravely undergoes genetic testing for the disease herself, the film grapples with the precarious question of predictive testing for an incurable illness. The motif becomes doubly personal and intense when Megha’s role shifts from being a family member of the deceased to someone who has been afflicted herself, as is often the cruel nature of hereditary diseases. It is a moving exploration of the enduring impact of the deadly disease, as the film navigates the memories of lost family members and confronts Megha's uncertain future. With a delicate balance of sensitivity and candor, the film captures the essence of hope, loss, and acceptance; offering a compelling and intimate portrayal of the human experience in the face of an incurable illness.
About the filmmaker:
Megha Bhaduri is a London-based professional in the fields of screenwriting, producing, and documentary filmmaking. She is passionate about crafting narratives that capture genuine emotions and unspoken complexities of life. Her work is dedicated to creating films that authentically reflect the human experience and have the power to inspire tangible change in the world.
You can follow Megha Bhaduri here.