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Fighting to die




WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY? | 1981
In one of the earliest films on the idea of euthanasia, adapted from a prior play, Richard Dreyfuss acts as Ken Harrison, a lively sculptor seeking to end his life after he meets with an accident that makes him a paraplegic. Interestingly, even as his lawyer argues for his client's right to end his life, Harrison's doctor remains steadfastly against the idea. The film reflected the discomfort and dilemmas the issue of euthanasia provokes across different quarters, underlining the fact that ending a life is never really any one person's decision.

AMSTERDAM | 1998

A novel by Ian McEwan. When a story starts at a funeral, there's only so many ways it can go. Yet, McEwan's novel never stops surprising with its twists and turns and its plotting and planning protagonists. Driven by rivalries, jealousy and cunning, the book's two main characters arrive in the city of Amsterdam where suicides are being assisted by different groups. Events overtake the plans laid by each, however, and the two men meet a dark end, powerful enough to merit the Booker Prize the gripping and disturbing novel won.

THE SEA INSIDE | 2004

Full of turbulent emotions and powerful stillness, the film was based on the real-life story of Ramon Sampedro, a Spanish ship mechanic whose diving accident makes him quadriplegic. Sampedro campaigned for 29 years to win the right to end his life but the laws did not rule in his favour. He ultimately did commit suicide but not before deeply and powerfully impacting the lives of those around him. The story was turned into a critically acclaimed movie, Spanish star Javier Bardem playing Sampedro with great vitality. The picture moved many and won 2004's Oscar Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY | 2004

Hollywood hottie Hilary Swank acts as Maggie Fitzgerald, a female boxer working tirelessly with trainer Frankie Dunn (played by actor-director Clint Eastwood) to make it big in the world of fighting. A rogue move however paralyses Maggie. Abandoned by her fortuneseeking family, she can only turn to Dunn for help. This time, however, the fight is literally to the finish as Maggie, learning she cannot recover, wants help to end her life. Appalled, Dunn initially refuses, giving in only after Maggie tries to kill herself horrifically. At the film's end, Dunn gives the woman he loves a lethal injection, leaving viewers to grapple with how this fight was fought. The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director, but also received critical responses from American disability rights groups hoping for a more positive ending.

GUZAARISH | 2010

Starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in unusual roles, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film portrayed the life of magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Roshan) whose show is sabotaged, causing him to suffer an injury and become paralysed. While Ethan remains full of life, loved deeply by his nurse Sofia (Rai), he also wishes to have the right to die with dignity. When the courts dismiss his suicide pleas, he launches 'Project Ethanasia' on a radio show;however, most listeners strongly disagree with the notion of him ending his life. Finally, only Sofia comes to his aid and the film ends on a strangely high note, at a party where Ethan declares both his love and the fact that he shall die a happy man. Although the film didn't perform well at the box office, it won critical acclaim and scenes of Rai dragging on a cigarette with scarlet lips remain memorable.

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