On August 13, the cast and crew of independent Indian film Ship of Theseus gathered together in Mumbai's PVR-Juhu Lavina cinema to pledge to donate their organs. And after viewing this evocative drama, many audience members also have been thinking of doing the same as the production's cast and crew. Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and his film director wife, Kiran Rao, are among the people who have been inspired to action by Ship of Theseus . "We had discussed organ donation casually several times, but after seeing Ship of Theseus , we realised that it was something we had to do - give the gift of life and use our bodies to change the life of not just one person but several," Rao says. Such has been the impact of Ship of Theseus , a film examining the issue of organ donation which played at various film festivals, including Toronto, Rotterdam and Sydney, before being released in Indian cinemas in July. Directed by first-time helmer Anand Gandhi, it was awarded the Silver Gateway jury prize for technical excellence at the Mumbai International Film Festival. Ship of Theseus ' central theme stems from a question posed by the ancient Greek thinker and essayist Plutarch: if you replace all the decayed planks of a ship, does it remain the original ship? It's a paradox that many philosophers have enjoyed playing around with, but Gandhi transplants (pun intended) the question to the realm of organ donation. Shot and set in Mumbai, the film traces what happens to a man's organs after his death, and how they transform the lives of three unconnected people. The first recipient is a photographer (portrayed by Egyptian filmmaker Aida el-Kashef) who finds that the images she took when she was blind were more powerful and spontaneous than those taken with her sight restored. The second is an ailing monk (Neeraj Kabi) who receives a liver - but only after he has tried to fast to death because he refuses to be treated with drugs which have been tested on animals. The third person is a young stockbroker (played by Sohum Shah, who also produced the film) who receives a kidney and who, out of guilty curiosity, tries to track down the poor labourer whose kidney he thinks he has been given. Impeccably lensed by Pankaj Kumar (who won the best artistic contribution award at the Tokyo International Film Festival), the film is filled with beautifully composed images shot using unusual angles and stunning gradations of light. In one breathtaking sequence, the monk and a law student friend stride along a Mumbai road, past a graffiti-coated wall and families living on the pavement - in one seamless movement, the camera captures life as it is lived on the streets by the city's poor. In another scene, when the stockbroker is trying to find the hovel where the kidney donor lives, the camera takes you inside the ultra-tiny, cramped spaces which India's slum-dwellers call their homes. Advocates of organ donation are hoping the publicity for Ship of Theseus and the pledges made by Khan and Rao will encourage more Indians to donate their organs, a practice that is still uncommon in the country. "Given our obsession with Bollywood stars, it makes a huge impression every time they back a cause. When they say they are pledging their organs, it becomes instantly more doable for the rest of the public," says Pallavi Kumar, executive director of the (Delhi-NCR) Mohan Foundation which promotes organ donation. Advocates of organ donation expect Khan and Rao's announcement to have a domino effect. Past actions by film stars have had an impact on public attitudes. When many stars gave up smoking, ordinary Indians followed suit. In recent years, Bollywood luminaries have lent their names to worthy causes and campaigns. Top star Amitabh Bachchan has campaigned for tiger conservation and appeared on television to urge parents to inoculate their children against polio. Last December, after the gang rape of a New Delhi medical student, film stars joined the debate that convulsed India, not only to express their horror at the crime but to criticise Indian society's attitudes towards women. "Bollywood's influence spans every social class, advertising, television, politics, news, everything. Every time a star utters an opinion, it sways minds and can boost a campaign," New Delhi advertising executive Abhay Gupta says.