Holding a newborn in her hands, a young woman, clad in a silk sari, is walking into a house. Smiling faces are all around her, caressing the baby, celebrating the birth of a child. The husband, also dressed for the occasion, shares the mirth. But no one sees the woman’s face, clouded in uncertainty, unable to partake in the joy that’s all around her. Pain forms in the corners of her face.
A Malayalam music video beginning with this scene, is about a subject little touched upon before on screen – postpartum depression. Anand Anilkumar, the director of the video, got the idea of doing something about it from his wife Sony Sunil. “She knew some friends who have gone through it. In most cases, people brush it off as something silly. Few knew the seriousness of what the women – the new mothers – go through,” says Anand, who has worked as an Assistant Director for Underworld and Driving License, and wanted to make an independent project.
The music video is called Jananya, meaning 'earth'. “We wanted to keep a name which represents motherhood,” Anand says.
In the video, the woman remains unsmiling for the celebrations that continue in the house, indifferent to whatever is happening around her. She cries in the bathroom when she is alone and that’s when the husband knocks on the door and notices her suffering. They seek medical help.
The second half of the video goes back to the earlier scenes of the woman entering the house with the baby and the celebrations that follow – only this time, she is smiling, looking happy and contained. “We leave it to the viewer’s imagination on how to interpret it. What we meant, however, is that in one case, the woman does not have family support and in the other case, she does. In most of the cases, women can overcome postpartum depression with the support of the husband and family,” Anand says.
Anand and his friend Raam H Puthran did a month of research before making the music video. Raam did the cinematography. The actors are mostly new – Mridula Madhav playing the mother with her expressive face, and Jain K Paul, her husband. The music is by Pratik Abhyankar, and the song is sung by Gouri Sreekumar and Gireesan AC. Lyrics is written by Din Nath Puthenchery, son of late Girish Puthenchery, renowned poet and lyricist of Malayalam film songs.
The team took their concept to Mom Premium Women’s Hospital (CIMAR) in Kochi and they agreed to produce it. The music video ends with the worrisome statistic: 1 in 7 mothers struggle with postpartum depression. And a message: “Speak out, seek help, you are not alone.”