Slumdog Children of Mumbai| 48mins
Director: Nick Read | Producer:
Focus Years: | Country: United Kingdom
The Slumdog Children of Mumbai tells the moving stories of Deepa, Salaam, and twins Hussan & Hussein - four children caught up in the maelstrom of life on the streets and in the slums of Mumbai. Filmed over three months through the monsoon, by award-winning filmmaker Nick Read, we witness the bravery, resourcefulness and extraordinary resilience of these children, as they grow up long before they should.
7 year old Deepa works at the Bandra West traffic lights, selling flowers to passing motorists. She buys them at the flower market early in the morning, and spends the day trying to make a small profit â€“ sometimes until late in the evening. She lives with her 3 brothers and grandmother in the Khardanda slum. Her father died in 2008 of an alcohol related disease, and her mother has effectively abandoned her children since then. Deepa is forced to work to help feed her younger siblings, and is often left in sole charge of her 2-year-old brother. Most of all she wants to return to school to become a doctor.
11 year old Salaam originally arrived in Mumbai from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, one of Indiaâ€™s poorest states. Like so many young runaways, he was fleeing domestic abuse â€“ in his case his new stepmother was beating him for not working hard enough. He arrived at Victoria Station in the summer of 2009, but has yet to make it more than a hundred metres from the station perimeter. He soon fell in with a group of older boys, and resorted to begging and pickpocketing to survive. They introduced him to â€˜whitenerâ€™ a toxic solvent that many of the boys sniff to help them deal with hunger. When he is not begging, Salaam travels on the trains by faredodging, going to see Bollywood movies and visiting the beach.
HUSSAN & HUSSEIN
11 year old twins Hussan & Hussein live in the Pipeline slum, a ramshackle parade of makeshift squats balanced precariously on a 2 meter wide pipe - home to over 350 families. A rancid canal runs through the middle of the slum, where the twins wash, play and work. Here overcrowding, poverty and substance abuse turn homes into battlegrounds. The twinsâ€™ family live in a space 3 metres by 4: their father is an alcoholic, their brother is on drugs. The twins left school several years earlier, and make a living by â€˜ragpickingâ€™, collecting rubbish to sell at the local recycling centre. Competition is stiff in the Pipeline slum, so Hussan & Hussein resort to diving into the canal to collect the detritus slum dwellers discard. On a good day they get 25p each for their endeavours.