Mumbai: Nelson Mandela, the Former President of South Africa, had once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Children are our future, our pride and our new vision; and that is exactly what Children’s day celebrates. It is a day dedicated to increase awareness about the welfare of our children. Yet, look around and you will witness that the reality is too far from truth. Children are suffering everywhere and they are abused daily. Their basic rights, education, dignity, hope and most of all, a childhood is snatched away from them, every single day. Currently, millions of child labours in India are employed across the country in various segments like homes, factories, construction sites and elsewhere. Popularly referred to as ‘Chotu’, these children often deal with menial, backbreaking and dangerous jobs.
In an ode to showcase this tragedy, dentsu Impact, the creative agency from the house of dentsu international, has launched an eye-opening film in association with My Choices Foundation and Saregama Caravan.
This year, Children’s Day fell on the same day as Diwali. This is important since Children’s Day – filled with festive stories and spirit, greatly overshadowed the focus on children and their needs. And here is the irony. Despite the fact that we still have a long way to go to vanquish the evil of child labour, we were intently celebrating the victory of good over evil this Diwali.
Thus, the film hopes to be a powerful weapon in this battle. Choosing Children’s Day to launch the film also provided us with an opportunity to grab attention. The film showcases various versions of Chotus and the hellish world around which they exist. It communicates their silent suffering, a voice that the world can hear. It also sends out a message that the next time anyone sees such heinous abuses around, s/he must report it and not walk away. Only then, we will be able to save the world, one child at a time.
Speaking on the film, Anupama Ramaswamy, Managing Partner and National Creative Director, dentsu Impact said, “Seeing little children working to make ends meet is the worst form of pain. But we walk away, without reporting it. We need to help organizations like My Choices Foundation in whatever way we can. Because they work hard to help such children get their life back. Why did we choose to launch the film on Children’s Day? We believe the contrast of using an occasion, which celebrates children to highlight their suffering, will make the bitter truth come into light more strongly. It is my hope that with more people understanding the message of the film, they will raise their voices against child labour, and help usher in change.”
Elca Grobler, Founder, My Choices Foundation added, “Although there was much to celebrate on this Children’s Day, we should also note that there are too many children who still do not enjoy full rights and free choices. My Choices Foundation tailors programmes to empower them, so they can make choices to live their lives free from violence, abuse and exploitation. We aim to see the transformation of India into a safe place for children, and we hope this film will help us do that.”
The director of the film, Shashanka Chaturvedi aka Bob, Good Morning Films commented, “Anupama had mentioned this one incident to me on child trafficking, and it really shook me up. It was the driving force for me to make this piece. It’s something we need to address besides so many others in our society, and create awareness. If we start by stopping child labour at home, at work, and everywhere else, this piece will have done what it needs to do.”
We urge everyone to report cases of child labour by calling 1800 419 8588 or visiting www.mychoicesfoundation.org and bring back #ChotuKaChildhood.
Links to the film:
Client – My Choices Foundation
Team – Elca Grobler, Archana Brian, Manjulika Chellapan
Creative Agency – Dentsu Impact
President – Amit Wadhwa
CCO – Soumitra Karnik
Managing Partner & NCD – Anupama Ramaswamy
Managing Partner – Ajit Devraj
Chief Films Officer – Suprotim Day
Associate Vice President, Films – Dawa Lama
Group Creative Director – Monish Gupta
Creative Director – Deepak Bhandari, Priyanka Dandia
Account Management – Avinash Chandra
Digital Team – Binodan Sarma, Leepakshi Nagrath
Production house – Goodmorning Films
Director: Shashanka Chaturvedi
Executive Producer: Vikram Kalra
Producer: Robin D’Cruz
Cinematographer: Shashanka Chaturvedi
2nd unit cinematographer: Robin D’Cruz
Editor: Shashanka Chaturvedi
Casting Director: DM Stars
Wardrobe Stylist : Shaktirupa Bhattacharya
1st AD: Kaushal Shah
DA’s: Gaurav Gupta
Post Production Head: Bharat Arote
Post Supervisor: Manish Dabhole
Colourist : Joeseph Bicknell (company 3)
Online Artist: Abhijeet Debnath
Post Houses: Good Morning, Boing Studios
Sound Engineers: Deepanshu Roy