Salaam Venky is an Indian movie scheduled for release in December 2022. It’s based on the book The Last Hurrah, published by Shrikant Murthy in 2005, and it tells the story of a mother and her son, who suffers from a severe form of muscular dystrophy that will lead him to death. It’s a true story that happened in India and triggered an important debate in 2004: in this article, we will discover more about it.
You can find the official trailer of the movie below.
Salaam Venky: the true story that inspired the movie
Salaam Venky is the true story of Kolavennu Venkatesh, a young boy who suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare form of dystrophy that will bring him to death. He died in 2004, and his death sparked a national debate about euthanasia in India.
The boy was forced into a wheelchair since he was six years old. His mother, K Sujatha, cared for him for his whole life. He became a chess player, making it a relevant thing that gave purpose to his life. But when the disease degenerated, in December 2004, the boy was hospitalized in his city, Hyderabad, and the doctors predicted that he will last only 24 to 48 hours. He spent that time on life support.
K. Venkatesh has always been very clear about his situation: his strongest wish was to donate his organs before death will prevent this possibility. For this reason, his mother made an official request to Andhra Pradesh High Court, asking for permission for euthanasia. If the request were accepted, Venkatesh would have been able to donate his organs.
The High Court refused permission for euthanasia. The boy’s mother appealed the decision to India’s Supreme Court, but it was too late. The boy died on December 18, 2004, while his organs were already in the process of disintegrating. He was able to donate only his eyes.
The case of K. Venkatesh sparked the debate about euthanasia in India, as this article from those days proves. Euthanasia has always been a very delicate topic, with many cases worldwide that triggered the question of whether it should be allowed or not (some months after K. Venkatesh, the case of Terry Schiavo in America generated even more discussions).