Filmmaker Swati Vishnoi’s thought-provoking video about vitiligo is a tribute to Michael Jackson

The three-minute long video features, Aishnaa Kapoor, who is suffering from vitiligo
Still from Skin Show
Still from Skin Show

Skin conditions such as Vitiligo being one of them can do a lot to someone's self esteem. People see victims of the condition differently. This is exactly what Mumbai-based filmmaker Swati Vishnoi did as a child during her hostel days in Nainital. As a child, she would laugh at her physics teacher who suffered from Vitiligo. She grew up realising that this isn’t something to laugh about which led her to make an art video, Skin Show to raise awareness around the skin condition and that one suffering from it doesn’t need to be looked at with sympathy.  

Vitiligo is a disfiguring autoimmune disease caused by the lack of pigment called melanin in the skin leading to white spots. The video was released on World Vitiligo Day on June 25, coinciding with Michael Jackson’s death anniversary who also suffered from vitiligo.

Featuring Aishnaa Kapoor, who has been suffering from vitiligo since the age of three, the video opens with a voiceover, “For most of my childhood I remember being seen differently.” One is instantly moved by Aishnaa’s dance movements that complement the lyrics that follow in this three-minute video. “Growing up with someone with this condition and seeing my teacher celebrate it was a beautiful experience for me. So as a filmmaker, I thought of making a small piece of art on it,” says Swati, who met Aishnaa through her friend Aagroh Abhishek, a cinematographer, and decided to cast her for the video. “The idea was conceived when I first show Aishnaa and her dance and the ease with which she would perform her art. It was also to remember Michael Jackson on his death anniversary.”

Blended with an African song; Oya by musical duo Ibeyi, and shot in a water tank in Mumbai, the video justifies the idea of the song which represents the goddess of weather, known to be one of the most powerful and unbeatable deities in Africa. “It took us a few hours of shooting and a couple of days to edit. But this idea was in my head for months. And when I met Aishnaa and saw the location it was the time to do that,” recalls Swati.

Talking about his experience shooting this video, Aagroh tells us that he connected with the concept and enjoyed shooting at a location, which offered a limited space. “I loved it to shoot at that tiny space with natural light seeping in,” he shares and adds that moving the camera with Aishnaa’s dance movements and expression was a challenge. “We tried the camera to stay with Aishnaa, to tell the story beautifully. My camera was literally dancing with her to get into the skin and capture her expressions completely,” he adds.

Swati Vishnoi, Aishnaa Kapoor and Aagroh Abhishek during the shoot
Swati Vishnoi, Aishnaa Kapoor and Aagroh Abhishek during the shoot

On the other hand, Aishnaa had only one motive to be a part of this video, “To be kind to myself.” Growing up with the condition, she shares that her parents never treated her differently but she was never liked by other children as a kid. “It's not often that you get your story told. The thought that maybe someone in the world with vitiligo sees our work and changes the way they see their skin, is very fulfilling. The piece was a reminder to me too, a reminder to be kinder to myself,” says Aishnaa in conclusion.

Related Stories

No stories found.