The movie The Last Smile, released in 2017, is based on the book by the same name, written by Jeevan Zutshi. Following is an excerpt from my review of the book in May, 2017:
The drama of human life falls into a few types, but every life is a special case. The book we are dealing with is the story of Jeevan Zutshi, who immigrated to U.S. in 1972 and went through the usual struggles of a new immigrant and ended up a success story. Then what is captivating and interesting about his story? It is the epic tragedy he met in 2008 in the form of the loss of his eldest child, Amit.
Amit Zutshi died at the age of thirty, not by an illness, an accident, or a crime, but by the dietary supplements, the ubiquitous health enhancement drugs on the American self-initiated health improvement revolution scene. That is the drama of the book, that is the soul of the book. A crime was committed on author’s son, who bore scintillating promise, and who was the apple of his eyes. This is a Hamletian drama, where the author wants to scream:
The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
If the book had just contained a father’s sorrow over the loss of his beloved child, depending on how it was written, it would have had an immense human appeal. But it rises higher than that. It depicts his sorrow’s transformation into a searing crusade to harness and guide the dietary supplement industry’s blind lust for money. That is the special dimension of the book.
Dietary supplement industry in U.S. has remained unregulated, even though it kills and hurts thousands of people annually, especially the younger ones. On one hand Federal Drug Agency is most likely the world’s most stringent and thorough body screening new prescription drugs and their continuing record, but it does nothing about the multi-billion-dollar dietary supplement industry. The latter remains an unexamined industry, free to create and sell drugs, which are consumed by millions of Americans. But it is going to change now, to a good extent due to this book and its author’s persistent efforts at the U.S. Congress and elsewhere. Just about a year ago U.S. sued over a hundred dietary supplement manufacturers and marketers for spurious labeling and other indiscretions of their products. The cat is out the box now, one day dietary supplements will be subjected to the same scrutiny as the prescription drugs. A movie based on the book, bearing the same name, was released a few months ago, which will further drill the message: do not let people be killed by the wanton lust of businessmen. Chapter 17 of the book, A System Overdue for Reform, will haunt the dietary supplement industry for a long time
The movie is an independent production and eighty-seven-minute long. It was directed by Shankey Srinivasan. It has been screened in many countries It has won eight awards at major international film festivals, including the prestigious Best Feature at Burbank International Film Festival in 2017.
In January of this year the movie was released on various online platforms, the links for which are given below. Now, you can watch it from the comfort and privacy of your home.
How a family disregarded the agony of revisiting the painful memories of the tragic demise of their child, investing their financial resources and time, to first write and then produce a movie based on that experience, for the sole purpose of saving other children from the same calamity as their son fell in, is a testament to humanitarianism.
Suffern, New York, May 5, 2018