Siddhant Sarin’s documentary Ayena: The Resilience of Acid Attack Survivors


Siddhant Sarin’s documentary Ayena: Unveiling the Resilience of Acid Attack Survivors

The power of storytelling lies in its ability to shed light on the untold, to humanize the seemingly distant, and to inspire change. Siddhant Sarin’s debut documentary, Ayena (Mirror), achieves precisely that as it delves into the profound impact of a vengeful act on the lives of acid attack survivors Ritu Saini and Farah Khan.

Siddhant Sarin

Siddhant Sarin
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

In the heart of Ayena, we witness the transformation of two women whose lives were forever altered by a moment of revenge. Siddhant Sarin, the visionary filmmaker, takes us on a five-year journey, exploring the challenges, victories, and resilience of Ritu and Faraha.

Behind the Scenes of Ayena

Siddhant Sarin, an alumnus of prestigious film academies, stumbled upon the inspiring stories of acid attack survivors on social media. Intrigued by the contrast between their joyous posts and the harsh reality of their scars, he decided to embark on a mission to capture their lives post-trauma.

Stills from the film

Stills from the film
| Photo Credit:
The Hindu

From Scars to Fame

Ritu Saini, one of the survivors, found unexpected fame through her scars. Siddhant reflects on their encounters, from television appearances to modelling and even featuring in a Hindi film. Ayena portrays not only the physical scars but also the strength and beauty that emanate from within.

Sheroes: A Haven for Acid Attack Survivors

The documentary unfolds in the backdrop of Sheroes, a restaurant working towards the rehabilitation of acid attack survivors in Agra, Lucknow, and Noida. This section explores the impact of such initiatives in fostering independence and recovery.

Credit: IMDb

The Human Connection

The heart of Ayena lies in the genuine connection between Siddhant, Ritu, and Faraha. Despite the filmmaker’s background as a lawyer, he found a deeper calling in capturing the human spirit through the lens of his camera.

Trajectory Towards Gender-Based Violence

Ayena transcends the narrative of acid attacks to focus on the broader issue of gender-based violence. Siddhant shares how the film became a medium to understand Ritu and Faraha as individuals, showcasing their independent lives and struggles.

Small Victories Amidst Agony

Despite the physical and emotional agony, Ayena captures moments of triumph for Ritu and Faraha. From personal victories to the challenges of reconstructive surgeries, the documentary portrays resilience in the face of adversity.

Credit: IMDb

Forgiveness Amidst Destruction

One of the most striking aspects of Ayena is the survivors’ lack of bitterness towards their attackers. Ritu’s statement, “A man destroyed us, yet men are helping us rebuild our lives,” encapsulates the film’s powerful message of forgiveness and hope.

Life After the Attack

Ritu’s disillusionment with relationships and Faraha’s marriage proposal highlight the complexities survivors face when rejoining society. The film questions whether society is ready to accept them, showcasing the societal challenges that persist.

The Man Behind Ayena

Siddhant Sarin’s journey from law to filmmaking is explored, emphasizing his dedication to telling impactful stories. Collaborating with Arunas Matelis, Studio Nominum, Sarah Kang, and Seesaw Pictures, Ayena becomes a testament to the power of collaborative filmmaking.

Siddhant profile e1696093757354 1024x1024 1
Credit: Docustan

Screening Details

Vikalp Bengaluru presents Ayena, with a screening at BIC on January 24 at 6:30 pm. Siddhant Sarin will virtually join us for a Q&A session, providing viewers with an opportunity to delve deeper into the making of this powerful documentary.


Ayena leaves an indelible mark, urging us to reconsider preconceived notions about beauty, strength, and resilience. It stands as a testament to the unyielding human spirit and the possibility of triumph over tragedy.


  1. What inspired Siddhant to create Ayena?
    • Siddhant was moved by the joyful posts of acid attack survivors on social media, prompting him to explore their stories in depth.
  2. How did Ritu and Faraha’s story impact Siddhant personally?
    • The genuine connection formed during filming deeply impacted Siddhant, shaping his perspective on human resilience.
  3. What challenges did the survivors face during the filming process?
    • The documentary captures the struggles, victories, and long path to recovery for Ritu and Faraha.
  4. How can society contribute to the rehabilitation of acid attack survivors?
    • Ayena prompts reflection on societal acceptance and support for survivors, encouraging positive change.
  5. Where can viewers watch Ayena after the screening?
    • For those unable to attend the screening, Ayena will be available for viewing through [specified platform].

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Published on: 2024-01-23 10:38:48

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