Washington: Indian Americans have applauded the movie “The Vaccine War” by award-winning film director Vivek Agnihotri and described it as an eye-opener to the accomplishments of Indian scientists, in particular women, for helping a country of 1.4 billion people successfully combat COVID-19 under extreme circumstances.
Agnihotri, who is currently on an “India for Humanity Tour, USA” and screening his latest movie before a select audience in various cities received a standing ovation from Indian Americans in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC.
He was joined by popular actress and movie producer Pallavi Joshi. The movie is about Indian scientists successfully developing a vaccine for COVID-19 under extreme circumstances and obstructions posed by certain foreign players.
“It (the movie) kind of brought back everything. I really appreciate how it focused on the underdogs of the Indian scientists and women. We (women scientists) go unappreciated. Scientists are the backbones of healthcare, and they go unappreciated because we start working in the basement of the hospital or on the back end of the hospital and people don’t really know what we are doing,” Jyota, an Indian-American scientist who works in Quest Diagnostics lab here said after watching the movie.
The local organisers initially planned for the private screening of the movie in one theatre. They ended up screening in two theatres because of high demand among Indian Americans.
Both the theatres were house full. Vivek and Pallavi received standing ovations from the audience.
“It is an inspiring movie,” said Mukta after watching the movie.
“I learned a lot about what actually went into making it, what were the difficulties and challenges and pressures and what to overcome and the magnitude of its success. It’s very nice to know, thanks to their directors and producers,” said her husband, Vijay.
“The slogan I really liked was ‘We can do it’, that really hit me…,” said Kumar, who lives in Fall Church, Virginia, after watching the movie.
Gita Kishore, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland said the movie was really based on science.
“Being a scientist myself, I could see the trials and tribulations of all the scientists,” she said and applauded the women scientists of India for giving an affordable COVID-19 vaccine to India and the rest of the world.
India took an exclusive initiative “Vaccine Maitri” to supply Covid-19 Made-in-India vaccines to various countries across the world.
Under this initiative, as of the first week of December 2022, India has supplied more than 282 million vaccine doses of COVID-19 to 101 countries and two UN entities.
Couple Sudesh and Sudiksha said they came to watch the movie to see the story behind the development of the vaccine by India.
“It was a wonderful movie, a wonderful story,” Sudesh said.
“It made us feel so proud to be Indian. I did my microbiology in India, so it brought back all those good memories of the research, the terminology and all that. He kept it very scientific. I like that part because it was not political at all. It stuck to the facts and that was good actually. It’ll definitely be appreciated by the scientific community in general,” Sudiksha said.
Dr Subir K Basak, a biotech expert, said the movie showed India’s scientific powerhouse and the deep determination in the minds of the women who are playing such an important role in India’s history.
“It all kind of happened at the time of greatest distress for India. Somewhere the powerhouse that has always been in India, meaning India’s women, ladies, girls, came out and created such a big solution to kind of save their Indian patient population from such a big unknown catastrophe that could have happened,” he said.
“The film captured in a very beautiful way, the power of the scientific aspects about what India’s foundation is and the power of the women, which we of course have always seen and known growing up,” Basak said.
The first cases of novel coronavirus (nCoV) were first detected in China in December 2019. Globally there have been 769,806,130 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of August 16, including 6,955,497 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation.