Euthanasia in Bollywood

Filmposter van Guzaarish

Deze gastbijdrage is van Aletta André, correspondent in New Delhi. Het stuk is ook op haar site te lezen.

Ten years ago the Netherlands, as the first country in the world, passed a law legalising euthanasia. Since then, not many countries have followed, as I learnt from this article on Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Coincidentally, the Bollywood movie Guzaarish, which deals with the subject, was released this week.

The tagline ‘fall back in love with life’ promised a cheesy ending in which the main character changes his mind and wants to live anyway, but nothing of that kind happened. It is actually not a bad film, visually beautiful and with solid characters and acting. It shows how a patient, the people who love him, the society and court of law think about and deal with euthanasia, without ridiculing the subject with bad music and dancing.

The movie has had positive responses in India, too.

It showed me that, whether you are in a country like my own, where euthanasia is legalised, or in a country like India, where its not – life, death, difficult choices around them and the emotions that come from them are universal. It confirms that I’m not from a country with wicked, perverted values and that are thoughts and feelings are actually not that different from the ones in other countries. And its encouraging to see that the people in India are open to discuss the subject, even if its through a Bollywood film.

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    Mensen die doen alsof euthanasie niet gewoon een punt op een schaal is tussen ‘kan volledig uit zichzelf uitbundig leven’ en ‘als we dit apparaat weghalen gaat de anderszins vegetatieve of onbehandelbare patiënt vanzelf dood’, hebben niets begrepen van de hedendaagse medische praktijk. Wat de rest van de wereld ‘euthanasie’ noemt, zoals die in Nederland kan worden toegepast, is gewoon een puntje dat een beetje links staat van het puntje dat zij zelf gewend zijn.

    Euthanasie wordt overal toegepast; die puntjes staan nergens op precies dezelfde plek.