Jhalki is a social drama digging on child slavery which evasively surrounds the work of Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has worked extensively to save children in India from slavery.
Directed by- Brahmanand S. Siingh
Produced by- Annand Chavan and Brahmanand S. Siingh
Star cast- Boman Irani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Divya Dutta, Sanjay Suri
Jhalki played by Aarti Jha and Babu played by Goraksha Sakpal, are beggarly but happy children. But their life turns upside down when 7-year-old Babu gets kidnapped. To find him, 9-year-old Jhalki goes on an excruciatingly painful quest which results in major upheavals in their lives.
Jhalki is based on a subject which is not widely talk about: child slavery. To be true, this film is an earnest attempt to portray the condition of children affected by child labour and trafficking.
The film is also loosely woven around the life of Kailash Satyarthi who is a child right activist. However, it does not directly talk about him, nor is it largely based on him. Satyarthi‘s character, a cameo played by Boman Irani, is just a glimpse in the large scenario.
Based on true incidents, this film is not meant for mainstream cinema. Instead, it is a factual account which is portrayed on screen, being true to the subject without any glamourization for the sake of it.
However, it has the reflection of a certain sense of mysticism with childhood play like innocence, specially a pure guileless relationship between a brother and a sister. But, it does not forget to keep a distance from that surreal world which does not exist for people living on the street.
The story and the cinematography are poignant. When Jhalki is not able to find him, she calls her brother babu…babu, it pinches deep inside and your heart goes out for her. You are bound to question your conscience about the surroundings. However, the characters do not feel real. It keeps going back and forth from being real to teaching a moral lesson to the audience.
Having said that, this is one of the important films of 2019. Amongst the myriad of films being made every year, films like these are gems. They should be seen widely and appreciated to encourage more films on issues which are hard to talk about. Jhalki has also been selected for the Boston International Film Festival.