My Brother Nikhil
Producers: Raj Kaushal, Vicky Tejwani, Sanjay Suri and Onir
Cast: Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Suri, Dipannita Sharma and Victor Bannerjee
My Brother Nikhil talks about the trauma of an AIDS victim. The film looks at how an AIDS patient could easily be ostracised by society. It shows the trauma of a family where one of the members has been afflicted with a major problem and how no one wants to befriend such a person or be known as someone close to such a person. It is all about relationships. Nikhil [Sanjay Suri] is the state-level swimming champion of Goa. He trained in the river, tamed the waves and ruled the pool. His father-cum-coach, Navin [Victor Bannerjee], has brought him up to be a sportsman and is proud of his son who has won a scholarship from the sports ministry. Nikhil works hard and even wins sports scholarships. His mother Anita (Lillette Dubey) also supports him. But the person who stands by him the most and loves him the most is his sister Anu (Juhi Cahwla). Everything is perfect for the handsome, jovial and charming Nikhil. He is the idol of his peers and his friends love him. But all this changes one fine morning. On August 8, 1989, Nikhil is arrested. His parents, friends and colleagues turn their backs on him. Suddenly, his whole world collapses. Nikhil is sent to a secluded hospital ward and kept in solitary confinement. Reason: He has tested HIV Positive. Nikhil's father, who is unable to face social humiliation, abandons him. But Anu defies her parents and stands by her brother. Another person who stands by Nikhil during this difficult phase is his friend Nigel [Purab Kohli], his lover. Loosely based on Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's documentary COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT , MY BROTHER NIKHIL confronts us with the reality of HIV/AIDS with simplicity and straightforwardness. Sanjay Suri plays both roles of the swimmer and the victim with considerable ease. Juhi Chawla stands like a rock by him and has shown tremendous maturity as an actress. These two performances are well supported by Victor Banerjee and Purab Kohli as well. Editor turned director Onir's execution of the subject is laudable. He has done a great job and the last twenty minutes of the film is excellent. Cinematography [Arvind Kannabiran] is striking. Music is okay. On the whole, My Brother Nikhil is worth a watch.