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Hemlock Society: Organisation that helps people die

Hemlock Society: Organisation that helps people die

The society's main motive is to provide legal support to physician assisted suicides.

New Delhi: Bengali director Srijit Mukherji is returning to the silver screen after two successful films 'Autograph' and 'Baishe Shraban'. The subject of his latest film 'Hemlock Society' seems different, which explores the lives of people who want to commit suicide. Actually 'Hemlock Society' is an organisation that teaches people how to commit suicide in a unique way.

The film showcases the lives of people, who under difficult circumstances, decide to end their lives. Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Koel Mallick are playing the lead roles in the film while veterans such as Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Barun Chanda will also be seen as important characters.

Though the film is a work of fiction, its inspiration comes from an actual organisation called 'The Hemlock Society'. This society was the brainchild of an American citizen Derek Humphry who founded the organisation in Santa Monica, California in 1980. The society's mission was to provide information to people at their death-beds and giving legislative support to permit physician assisted suicides. The society merged into another organisation with the same motive in the year 1992, after the publication of Derek Humphry's book 'Final Exit'. Derek Humphry left the organisation in the same year.

Humphry was inspired to make this society after receiving a great response to his memoir 'Jean's Way' which was his account of helping his terminally ill wife taking her own life in 1975.

In 2003, the society renamed itself again and merged with another organization called 'Compassion and Choices'. However, several unaffiliated local organizations continue to operate under the name of the original Hemlock Society.

Currently, three registered societies with the names Hemlock Foundation of Florida, Hemlock of Illinois, and Hemlock Society of San Diego are operating.

Parambrata Chattopadhyay is a well known face for the Hindi film viewers also who have seen him recently in 'Kahaani'. The heroine of the film Koel Mallick is one of the busiest actors of Bengali films. With these two in the lead, director Srijit Mukherji would be hoping for the story to turn out to be a good celluloid presentation.####

first published:June 19, 2012, 10:40 IST