You are no exception: Jha’s voice seen, heard and awarded


The awards ceremony of the short film competition, ‘You Are No Exception’ organised by USAID was held at Soaltee Crowne Plaza on December 13. The programme has been launched through USAID’s private sector programme, Nepal Social Marketing and Franchaise project (N-MARC). Each of the directors had made around seven-to-eight-minute-long films on the subject that no one is an exception when it comes to AIDS. Variety of subjects from urban to rural areas, educated youths to migrant workers, high-risk groups to innocent housewives, different ideas were presented in the films.

Three winners were selected out of eight films. The jury comprising Beth Paige, Laxmi Raj Pathak, Pratima Pande and Nisha Dhaubadel, unanimously chose Apbad by Purnendu Jha as the winner, while the first runner-up was Asif Shah’s Sonam and Avinash B Shah’s Horn Please was the second runner-up.

The winners will join professional film direction courses in Mumbai, India. The prizes were sponsored by Nepal Investment Bank Limited (NIBL).

A proud and confident Jha said, “I was 100 per cent sure that I would win as I had incorporated all the technical guidelines given to us, and have tried to show why people hesitate to use condoms though they are aware of the risks. I’ve also tried to use counter logic for their behaviour and tried to use counselling to promote use of condoms.”

He added that having well-known faces certainly helped a lot as people tend to listen and follow things that celebrities say.

Speaking at the function American Ambassador Nancy Powell talked about the support that has been provided to manage and implement the national AIDS programmes through which thousand of Nepalis have benefitted. On the short films, she said that such innovative media campaigns would help to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS, and for people to inculcate in their daily lives the message of hope, tolerance, commitment which these films present.

Beth S Paige, Mission Director, USAID Nepal, Nisha Dhaubadel, President of National Federation of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, NiBL’s Prithvi Bahadur Pande, also shared their views at the function.