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Movie preview of Jhalki - an upcoming film based on child labour
Jhalki is a movie directed by Brahmanand Siingh, who has already a dozen movies to his credit. The story of the movie is based on child slavery and trafficking in every nook and cranny of India.

It's the tale of one of the constituent country's contributions to the problem faced by 200 million children worldwide. India alone takes a share of 6 million out of it. One in every seven children in the world is a labourer, the statistics say. Between the age of 5 and 14, over 200 million work worldwide in different sectors. Jhalki says the lyrical saga of a 9-year-old girl who sets out in search of her 7-year-old brother, in a world where bonded labour has been spreadeagled with its sharp beak to repel the questions darted towards them.

Like countless stories we keep hearing on a daily basis from the Indian villages, a day breaks to the hard story of trading a boy off to an unknown place. The workplaces are invariably depressing and making everyone extremely unhappy and worried. The siblings are fun-loving, in spite of the poverty they dwell in and one of them gets castaway to the world of rough realities of a system where bureaucracy and the resultant corruption and exploitation hold the fort. The sister finds it difficult to move forward in her search. She lands up in trouble one after the other. It was like the flight of tireless sparrow that has lost her grain of food intended for her little ones. Jhalki's untiring efforts eventually pick up a momentum that spreads like a wildfire movement and results in a situation that forces freeing her brother Babu and thousands of other children caught up in the vicious trap.

The film tells a story of hope and confidence which might set a spark of popular indignation against bonded child labour. The notable feature of this movie that stands apart is even the groundlings may feel inspired to fight against the unholy practices we come across. It conveys an assurance that every fight, no matter even if it sparks a little of light, would find a place in history if it sets ablaze to the wrong practices we carry along. The film handles a very hot issue. Although many speak on this subject, nothing is seen practically taken place against it. It's an awakening call to a serious issue of a social malaise the ruling machinery conveniently closes its eyes towards.

Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Laureate and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan says about child labour and the film Jhalki : ''The existence of child labour is the worst form of human rights violation. Even animals do not allow their babies to produce wealth and food for them. In the animal world, adults arrange food for their babies. Sadly, in human society, we do the other way round. I've very high regards to this movie and sure that it would go places!'' 

Childhood, according to the director, is the days of fun, learning and loving. The same gets deprived of a few less fortunate children in the form of bonded labour, burdened with long working hours and stringent conditions. He's quite upset about the way authorities handle it. Instead of stemming the sinister practices related to this issue, it perpetuates and going worse as time passes. He says that Jhalki is his way of approaching the issue, making everyone aware of the situations. The journey was not at all easy for him. He had better offers to move forward with a lot of other subjects on star-studded banners. But he preferred sticking with his own mission, despite with all the hardships anticipated.

Besides the two children, Aarti Jha and Goraksh Sakpal, in the lead roles Boman Irani plays Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Prize winner of 2014 for rescuing 85000 children from child slavery. Govind Namdev, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sanjay Suri, Divya Dutta, Joy Sengupta etc are in supporting roles. Kailash Satyarthi and his team had authenticated the script of Jhalki. The end credits substantiate the real involvements of them in materializing the liberation of the children trapped in the system. 

The making of the film Jhalki goes back to many years. Bhahmanand Siingh and Prakash Jha had started writing it initially and the script went through a lot of transformation. Eventually, Singh Kamlesh Kunti Singh came in between and three drafts were made with changing scenarios. The journey had a long story to tell. It was a big challenge to find out the apt casting for a firebrand 11-year-old pre-puberty girl, as she was the one to carry the whole story on her shoulders. Same was the case with the boy too. The casting team went around to different areas in UP and Bihar to pick up the rustic local touch, shortlisted 50 and that got narrowed down finally to 4 and 2. The duo was amazing in their performances and within a span of 3 0r 4 days, they incredibly turned into seasoned actors. The director and other crew were so pleased with their thespian cooperation. Although the team wanted Kailash Satyarthi to take up his own role, due to certain delays it was moved to others like K K Menon, Manoj Bajpai and finally fixed at Boman Irani. 

Most parts of the film had been shot in 45 to 48 degrees temperature and therefore used to wind up after long hours. The entire team coped with the heat very well and every hour of the shoot was a new adventure for the people behind it. Mirzapur was the main location as there were a lot of carpet factories. Last minute hurdles were there as it was mistaken as a film against carpet industry. Despite all the pullbacks and delays due to local problems, the film was finally wound up satisfactorily to a good end. The film is scheduled to be released in February 2019. The director had a great satisfaction that he has attended and addressed to a great cause and he thinks that if it remained undone, he also would have been a party to a crime done towards children.

Brahmanand Siingh is renowned for his movie, Kagaz Ki Kashti (Paperboat), a biopic of the legendary Ghazal maestro, Jagjit Singh. He has a documentary on  RD Burman, Pancham Unmixed: Mujhe Chalte Jane Hai. He's also on the way to create exciting biopics of many contemporary and historical leaders of India who had inspired our lives to a great extent.

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