Short film on Jain ritual starvation hogs limelight at Kolkata festival

A documentary on the Jain practice of santhara, where a person takes a vow of abstinence and starves to death, has won a Special Jury award at the recently concluded Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival 2015. The 25-minute film has been written, directed and edited by Mumbai-based journalist-filmmaker Shekhar Hattangadi.

The film, ‘Santhara’, focuses on the conflict between a traditional religious practice and modern laws by exploring the spiritual, ethical, sociological and medico-legal aspects of santhara. It depicts the last moments in the life of a Jain nun who performed the ritual and is based on interviews with Jain religious scholars and community elders as well as legal experts and people who have filed a PIL calling for a ban on the practice.

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