Normally we tend to overlook the documentary in the range of our cinematic entertainment. It would be a mistake, a big mistake, to miss "Fire In The Blood" because we would rather have a good time watching "Grand Masti" or "Chennai Express" at a theatre near us.
"Fire In The Blood" is not entertainment. It's much more. It's not a feature film. But the issue it deals with - how the criminal racket allegedly enforced by large pharmaceutical companies to block life saving drugs from third world countries, mainly Africa, touches all our lives.
We could be one of the victims, and we don't even know it!
Indeed director Dylan Mohan Gray - god bless the vistas of visionary velocity that he breaks open in this jolting expose - takes us into a journey through a drama that beats the fictionalised flamboyance of fantasy films by a fabulous margin. There are the specifically-targeted villains and the greed motivated pharmaceutical companies, shown almost as drug cartels operating to stop the process of healing and saving lives of the poor.
The film's premise is appalling in its ramifications. As Gray's tale of avarice and drug-deprived deaths in Africa unfolds, we become shocked witnesses to the abysmal immorality that has gripped all large businesses in the world.
Money doesn't only make the world go round, it flattens every moral consideration. And let's face it, medicines and drugs are a business proposition. To see how pharmaceutical companies ruthlessly operate in non-developed under privileged areas to deny rather than save lives is a process that this film explores and exposes with meticulously researched material and the authoritative voices of people who care about what happens to the poor.
Because the film (I refuse to give it the genre-limiting name of a 'documentary') goes into an area of global concern that has never before been dealt with on film, the narrative does get top heavy with information at times. Bear with it. Deal with the situation that the film so shockingly exposes: that the medicines we so blindly trust to heal us and make us healthy are often used to blackmail and mock mortality.
The singular concern of Gray's film establishes the enormity of the wrongdoers' death-inducing syndicate early in the narrative. The unlikely heroes show up later. They are an Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla and vocal activists which went that extra mile to counter the damage done by the greedy global players in the business.
"Fire In The Blood" is an important treatise on the troubled diseased times we live in when the healers become the destroyers and medicines are turned into malicious money-making agents of destruction.
Very frequently in the course of the narration I was conscious of how little we know about the world that controls our daily lives. It's an intrinsically contaminated world that we live in, a world devoid of heroes and acts of heroism, a world governed by greed... "Fire In The Blood" opens up that world to show us the festering innards of a wounded civilisation.
Some of the world's most high profile spokespersons like Desmond Tutu, Zackie Achmat and Bill Clinton give their voices to make a cogent powerful impact on us. William Hurt's wry cynical saddened narration certainly adds a valuable dimension to the frightening poignancy of the narration.
Watching "Fire In The Blood" is not a a breezy experience. It make us sit up, think hard and reconsider the quality of our lives. In other words, it does everything cinema is supposed to, but seldom does.
--IANS (Posted on 12-10-2013)