After the Supreme Court announced on Friday that a person has the “right to die with dignity” in case of an irreversible stage of terminal illness, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who tackled the theme of euthanasia in Guzaarish, has recounted that the subject had sparked a hue and cry when the movie released in 2010.
“I remember when I had made Guzaarish, there was plenty of hue and cry over my plea to allow the irreversibly ailing to end their lives,” Bhansali said.
Guzaarish narrated the story of a quadriplegic hero’s (Hrithik Roshan) plea for death. Now another Hollywood film seems to have taken from the idea of happy-dying in Guzaarish.
Andy Serkis’ biopic Breathe is a real-life drama about Robin Cavendish who contracted polio at the age of 28 and defied doctors’ doomsday declarations by outliving all the medical prophecies. Cavendish, played by Andrew Garfield, decides to end his life in a nice and happy surrounding inviting his closest friends and loved ones for a farewell party on the night before he pulls the plug on his life.
This was a scenario constructed in Guzaarish much earlier where the quadriplegic Ethan (Hrithik) invites his close friends over for a happy send-off.
Aren’t the similarities coincidental between two films made in two different continents and time zones Bhansali said: “I haven’t seen Breathe. But the similarities must be unintentional.”
Guzaarish was based on someone close to Bhansali, he said. “Though I am no stranger to pain, what I saw in this person took pain and suffering to another level, I realised that there comes a point in every life when a full stop is the only solution.”
While researching on the subject of euthanasia for the movie, Bhansali had let go of all temptation to watch films on the subject of mercy killing.
“I didn’t want to get even remotely influenced by my thought and vision by what other filmmakers have done on the subject,” he said.