Storyteller Ink. along with their digital distribution partner FilmKaravan team up to digitally release a documentary that brings to light a rarely seen perspective of academic excellence-‐ pressure and isolation. Abhay Kumar’s hybrid documentary, PLACEBO is an observational examination about student life in one of the most competitive institutions in the world—All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Those who get through the incredibly low acceptance rate (less than 0.1%) for the undergraduate study at AIIMS, are marked in a way. From the outside, these students are deemed celebrities in the academic circles, but rarely do we see what becomes of them as they pass through the corridors of excellence. . When a freak accident on campus leaves a final year student grievously injured, his elder brother, a filmmaker, decides to go inside and find out what happened. . In order to make sense of it all, Kumar uses a camera to film seemingly innocuous interviews, looking for patterns of looming violence, both towards self and others. However, as the characters start opening themselves to the camera, a startling new reality begins to emerge.-‐ stress, pressure and isolation reach breaking point and events spiral out of control as the story takes a sinister turn. The film raises serious questions about our education system, the constant pressure we put on others, and ourselves and how we are failing to deal with the unspeakable rampant epidemic running through youth-‐ a crushing sense of isolation. ‘Placebo’ uses a hybrid form-‐ mixing animation with variety footage, fact and fiction, archives and found footage to traverse this complex mindscape of restless youth and broken ambition.
Arundhati Roy, winner Man Booker Prize for ‘The God of Small Things’ remarked, “Placebo is an important, deeply moving, stunningly made film. It’s omissions, particularly on the question of caste and gender, are egregious and some might even say unpardonable. And yet the insight it offers into what students in this country are going through—even the brightest, luckiest ones—is searing. Be provoked by it, quarrel with it, love it, hate it. But see it. I am so glad that I did.”
Speaking on the new partnership, Abhay Kumar, comments. “The odds were always against us while making the film. Archana and I today, mark a momentous occasion where the film is opening up to the world on one of the best digital platforms. This is where the second journey of the film starts, and we are every curious to see the path it carves for itself.”
Apoorva Bakshi, Head of Original Production & Partnerships, FilmKaravan, shared, “A truly nihilistic take on a subject few people know about and even fewer people discuss. Placebo is a story that had to be told and it deserves a home that justifies its message and brings it to the largest possible audience. FilmKaravan is proud to be a part of this journey and hopes that the viewers like Abhay’s magnum opus.”
Don’t forget to watch Placebo, now live on Netflix, Worldwide.