Movie for a Malady

In the summer of 2001,two teenagers,Radhika Iyengar and Kinjal Mehta,suffered from an eating disorder where the victim fears putting on weight.

Written by Sukanya Shetty | Mumbai | Published: February 23, 2009 4:21:20 am

Having recovered from anorexia,these two young women have turned the mirror on themselves and on a generation of girls aspiring to be size zero

In the summer of 2001,two teenagers,Radhika Iyengar and Kinjal Mehta,suffered from an eating disorder where the victim fears putting on weight. While reeling under the effects of anorexia,Radhika and Kinjal had a highly distorted image of their body,considering themselves to be overweight.

Now,when they look back,they are ready to laugh at themselves,but not flippantly. They have scripted and directed a film ‘Mirror Mirror On The Wall’ featuring kids just out of their teenage talking on how they succumbed to peer pressure and media messages,starved themselves and entered the most disturbing phase of their life.

Their film is one of the documentaries by students of the Social Communication Media Department of Sophia Polytechnic College to be screened on February 26.

The message is clear: India’s traditional idea of beauty,including well-rounded women,has been lost to the skinny models on television screens and hoardings,with kids craving their bodies and urban adolescent girls increasingly falling prey to anorexia nervosa.

Seven years down the line,Radhika and Kinjal armed themselves with a camera and a tripod and through their college project decided to sensitise girls of their age on how anorexia can destroy their bodies.

“It was my childhood crush that got me into this crash diet. When my relatives told me I need to lose weight it never bothered me. But when the guy who I liked back then in school made fun of me,I had all the reasons to lose the excess weight. In the process,from a chubby little kid,I pushed myself to becoming a bony structure. With no energy and perennially under depression I suffered for a good one year,” says Radhika.

Lucky to have emerged healthy,Radhika says not everyone has a mother who understands the problem and counsels one to bounce back. “I did not need any counseling but while researching,we realised that kids as young as 12-13 years get into this weird obsession of a perfect body and kill their childhood by hitting the gym and practically starving themselves,” adds Radhika.

The movie revolves around Radhika and Kinjal as the protagonists,but it also touches upon the worrying trend that has an entire generation suffering. “When I look back,I cringe. I was almost on the verge of being a severe anorexic but a timely intervention by my family and a boosted self esteem helped me unwind myself. But while researching I have read on several women who have died in the process of thinning themselves down to size zero,” says Kinjal,who has now transformed herself into a healthy 21-year-old.

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