There was no Bollywood actor present, and maybe that’s why the organisers from NGO, Aangan didn’t expect such a turn out. Nonetheless, the screening of an 18-minute compilation of three short films made by juvenile offenders at Mehboob Studio in Bandra, saw a packed house. Anurag Kashyap, Kiran Rao, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vijay Krishna Acharya and Sudhir Mishra came to support Aangan’s effort to spread awareness about criminals under the age of 18.
“Since children who have committed serious offences have made these films, they cannot be publicly viewed or screened on television,” says Shailja Mehta, spokesperson and trustee, Aangan. “We are hosting private screenings to spread awareness about them, and also highlight circumstances that lead them to go astray.”
Kiran personally invited everyone to engage with the issue saying, “Most people feel crime is a matter for the police. But after seeing these films, I realised that we all are connected to it. These children are the product of the and times we live in, and they are our responsibility. The films really moved me, as they are and experiences that give an insight into their lives.”
The short film called Jaan, Shaan, Imaan (Love, Pride, Honour) has been scripted, produced and filmed by adolescent boys from the NGO’s Youth Centers. Thespian Pramod Pathak mentored the kids.
“The challenge was not to get them to work, but to keep them concentrated on what the work was. They all wanted to act initially and were expecting a lavish set, since the word ‘film’ was involved. On the second day, when no Amitabh Bachchan or Salman Khan turned up and I landed with a handycam, their morale went down. But they eventually did everything required on their own, and they did it beautifully,” Pramod described his experience of working with the kids.
Anurag Kashyap, who is associated with Aangan, narrated the script of a short film he had written with Pramod, inspired by a true story of one of the young boys. “This short film is part of Bombay Talkies,” he said.