MMF & Finolex's ‘Baitullah’ Is Creating Waves in International Film Festivals
Baitullah has people all over the world talking. It has been screened at almost a hundred international film festivals to great reception and has garnered over two dozen awards
Written, directed, and produced by Jitendra Rai, Baitullah is a short film that follows the story of a child laborer. While the premise might seem mundane it is anything but. Child labor is very prevalent and normalized but it should be a chilling and infuriating social evil. Through the film, Rai channels the feeling of helplessness we feel when we see such children and turns it into a righteous call to action. He says, “We feel sad and helpless when talking about problems as big as child labor. How can I - a common man - stand up to an evil that has plagued my society since the beginning of time? We continue to sit idle in sorrow because we are too insignificant to do anything alone and are weighed down by the guilt of our inaction. Through Baitullah, I want to spark a conversation that can bring the masses together and inspire them against the united enemy - child labor.”.
Baitullah has people all over the world talking. It has been screened at almost a hundred international film festivals to great reception and has garnered over two dozen awards. It has been hailed as an important children’s film and its efforts to bring social change have been recognized by many. The strong performances by Om Kanojiya, Ishtiyak Khan, and Vipin Sharma paired with a message as weighty as this have helped Baitullah reach the hearts of many. It asks poignant questions about our part in the mistreatment of children and how our silence aids their abusers. The film’s realism is like looking into a mirror - and we hang our heads in shame because many of us are no different than the movie’s characters who turn a blind eye to child worker Baitullah’s fate.
Baitullah is presented by Finolex Industries and Mukul Madhav Foundation and much of the film’s plot is similar to the cases the two have worked with over the years. Both organizations work with underprivileged women and children and through the story of Baitullah, narrate the plight of many such child laborers. Ritu Chabria the managing trustee of Mukul Madhav Foundation says, "Through this film, we ask the question that we had tackled at the beginning of our journey. It is this thought that inspired us to start working with marginalized and vulnerable children. With Baitullah, we ask our audience the question, “How could each child enjoy the things we take for granted in our lives?”. By asking the same question, we hope the viewers also feel a similar inspiration and help out children in need and inspire others to do so as well."
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