The many ‘blues’ of motherhood

Rajeev Vijay’s recent short film ‘INA’ addresses the concerns of a new mother dealing with postpartum depression

author_img Arya U R Published :  15th April 2022 06:22 PM   |   Published :   |  15th April 2022 06:22 PM
A still from the short film 'INA'.

A still from the short film 'INA'.

Motherhood is a celebration for our society. Baby showers and welcoming parties for the newborn are becoming common in Kerala. But how often does society acknowledge the struggles of the new mothers and their pain, especially the instances of postpartum depression? Through his short film, cinematographer Rajeev Vijay talks about postpartum depression (PPD) and psychosis, a common issue faced by many new mothers.

A young mother sometimes goes through mood swings and crying spells, and occasionally ignores the cry of her own newborn. Ineya, the central character in the 28-minute long short film, battles her emotional breakdown. Her own family, including her husband, tags it as a ‘mental disorder’. She copes with all these changes, her own emotional baggage while dealing with a new responsibility, her baby. The whole family and neighbours label her as an arrogant mother due to her anger and hesitance in taking care of the baby girl. Her family and friends later ignore her, when her baby gets injured accidentally due to her untreated condition. 

But Ineya fights all of it — the judgemental stares, her husband’s apathy, and ignorance of her family. INA was screened at48 national and international film festivals around the globe. Rajeev, who directed the short, says it was his way of addressing an issue that has serious ramifications if ignored. “The PPD came to my notice during the lockdown days in 2021. A few of my friends had faced the issue and its after-effects. I wanted to know how a mother could ignore their child. The film is based on real-life incidents. I had to research PPD and its after-effects, as I did not have any prior knowledge of it. I talked to 40 such women who faced baby blues and PPD. While fatigued with loss of sleep and suffering PPD, some had even forgotten their children’s names,” explains Rajeev, whose short has won many accolades.

“I always wanted to direct a film. So I fulfilled my dream with this short,” he adds. 
As a short film, INA leans toward being informative and socially aware. It aims to show the graveness of the condition and support the women, whose life is greatly altered due to this condition. The film clearly speaks out for family support and says it will help the mother overcome depression. 

“Apart from parents and in-laws, a husband can give more support to his wife. The woman may suffer from various hormonal changes and the husband must understand her and help her with childcare. About 90% of mothers go through postpartum depression,” says Rajeev.

Many viewers came forward by sharing their own experiences, shares Rajeev. “Some men said through the film they could understand their wives better, who had recently given birth. Many new mothers conveyed that they felt as if their stories are retold through Ineya,” concludes Rajeev, who is active in the film industry as an assistant cameraman.