Monday, April 30, 2007

Kids with cameras

I didn’t think I would want to watch a documentary film. Especially not one called ‘Born in the Brothels’; because I imagined it would be drenched in pathos & misery. So it was very grudgingly that I borrowed the DVD from a friend who recommended the film. And now I am glad I did.

Ross Kauffmann & Zana Briski are two photographers who wanted to photograph the women in the red-light district of Calcutta in India & decided that the best way to capture the reality of their lives was to go and live there. While they were there, Zana befriended the children of the sex-workers & started teaching them photography. The documentary is based on the lives of eight of these kids who discovered photography & hope around the same time, thanks to Zana. The great part about it is that although the kids are born in brothels, the documentary does not focus on the misery in their lives, but rather on the sparks in their eyes. These kids are adorable! Sure, there are moments in the documentary that gave me goose-bumps (the scene where a little boy shrugs & says he was flying kites on the terrace because his mom was ‘at work’ in their room; or when a girl talks about drunken men coming to her house). But mostly, the documentary is about the kids being kids inspite of their surroundings. When they visit the clinic for a HIV test, they worry more about how much the needle would hurt; and never about the result. When they speak of their fathers, they speak with love inspite of who they are. When they were asked to sign the photographs for their first exhibition, they couldnt because their hands were shaking with excitement & nervousness. When they finally leave the brothel for school, they have tears in their eyes because they’re leaving *home*.

The documentary was made in 2004. The kids have grown up since then, and it is so great to read this update on their lives!


666 said...

will watch out for BITB. very good post indeed. its heartening to read the updates. i think these kids have more substance in them than half of the people i know. may god blesss them and others..

Bharath said...

Touching.. ! Surprising that Indians never take movies like this with some social responsibility..

Have u watched volver..? It nowhere near this.. But its a different genre...!

Radha said...

You should watch the movie; I was confused whether to be happy for these kids or to be sad for those many others who didn't get this opportunity.

Hi, welcome to petty-change! Well, I havent seen Volver yet, but I've heard so much about it!!

Lotus Reads said...

Radha, I have read so much about the "Born in the Brothels" documentary and this (your post) might be just the push I need to see it. We have an annual documentary festival here in Toronto called "Hot Docs", I get a lot of good suggestions from the list of docs. that air during the festival. I think "Born in the Brothels" was a part of this festival in 2004.

Wanda said...

oh my goodness, what an inspirational post, and to see the young people now...thank you.

Meghna said...

Have heard of the documentary but haven't seen it as I will. The update on the children is a great addition!

Radha said...

Honestly this is only the second documentary I've seen so far (the first one was 'Beirut Diaries'). Maybe now I'm going to keep a closer eye on the documentary scene!!

Hi! Well, I dont know about the post :), but the documentary sure is inspriring. And also disconcerting at the same time! Thats quite a difficult thing for a movie maker to do!

You shd read the update after watching the movie because its such a great feeling to see they're doing so well!

Moi said...

The updates was what made my day, radha....thanx for sharing the updates..I have seen the's very popular with the liberal arts student much as Salaam Bombay is..the updates were really heartening.....
and i felt the same as u said feel happy for kids who got the oppty or sad for those who didnt. another documentary that i saw and liked (tho' it was not even half close to how beautifully BITB was handled) in recent times is "In this world" that documents the escape of two Afghan boys to London.........I pick up documentaries with a li'l caution...the reality in them jolts you........

Happy Reader said...

Very touching post! I have to check out my library if they have this documentary. Thanks for bringing this to attention.

Radha said...

Thats true, I'm weary of picking up DVDs of documentaries or movies which could be overly depressing! But this wasnt the kind. Will look out for 'In this World' at my video library.

Happy Reader,
You're welcome! :) Do pick it up from your video library if you get a chance!

kaya said...

I had not heard of it, so thankyou for bringing it to light.
I would love to get my hand on it, any chance the Chinese lady may have a copy?
great post , sounds like a facinating movie.

Optimistic Guard said...

Hey Radha great post, makes me wanna see the documentary, its good to see the positive in every situation, this must be a great story.

Radha said...

Hi Kaya,
Yup its a fascinating film. Btw, are you trying to beat me on Jin's quiz, because I've still got more right answers!! :D

Hi, how have you been? Yes, its a very positive story, a film about what we can do for these kids, rather than what we cant!

suramya said...

now I must watch this documentary after that stunning description :)

Sharmi said...

Thank You so much for posting this Radha, It is so Inspirational ans shows that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I would love to watch this documentary if I get a chance. It so nice to know the kids have a nice life now. I am really happy for them.
your write up brought tears in my eyes:((

Radha said...

Hi, well, thank you! :)

Hi! Sure there is always light at the end of the tunnel :)

kaya said...

Nah U can have all the goodies. go ahead.
Im permanently at her place, so Ill just make myself comfortable.

Listen Hon.
(my blog)

Radha said...

Kaya - And I just returned the favour :))

Annitya said...

yes, I liked this documentary as well, and it's not as depressing as other movies related to this topic.

Radha said...

Hi Annitya!
Welcome to my blog :)
You're absolutely right, it was a touching topic but the documentary wasnt deppressing at all

Alpa said...

Hi Radha, great blog! I loved this documentary... I caught it awhile back on the Sundance channel. I loved it when the girls were asking if they were going to get non-veg at the school! Kids are so innocent :)

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