Jhalki … Ek Aur Bachpan (… A Different Childhood)

a film by Brahmanand S Siingh 

Today, One in every seven child is a laborer.

Even at a modest estimate, at least 220 million children between ages five and fourteen work worldwide, as some kind of laborer or the other.

Through the prevalent child labor practice, a black money pool of Rs. 1,20,000 – 1,80,000 crores (USD 20-30 billion) is being created annually in India.

As per current media estimates, this constitutes 30-60 percent of the total black money in the country.

Jhalki … Ek Aur Bachpan (… A Different Childhood) is a lyrical story of the search of a 9 year-old girl for her 7 year-old brother against the backdrop of bonded child labor in the carpet weaving factories of India.

Like countless other kids from her village, one fine day, her beloved brother is traded-off in a very unlikely situation for the family. A seven-year-old kid who was used to fun and freedom, in spite of the existing poverty, is suddenly thrown into an inhuman world of child labor with no respite from a terminally gloomy, dark and depressing workplace.

Jhalki decides to follow her instincts and not take the trade-off lying down. In the process, she ends up running into obstacles of the system that only aids child labor — bureaucracy, corruption, exploitation and so on.

Armed with a folk story of a tireless sparrow that gets her lost grain of food back for her children, a never-say-die attitude and an uncanny presence of mind, Jhalki eventually becomes instrumental for a snowballing movement that frees Babu, her brother, along with thousands of other children caught in the vicious trap.

Jhalki … It’s strong roots and shoots

Kailash Satyarthi, India’s lodestar for the abolition of child labor and a Nobel Prize laureate founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) and has acted to protect the rights of more than 85,000 children from 144 countries.

Due to his drive and dedication, on the global stage, Satyarthi commands a huge respect on International platforms against child labor and has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the “Global March Against Child Labor,” active in more than 140 countries.

  • Kailash Satyarthi and his team are behind the authenticity of the script of Jhalki … A Different Childhood.
  • The film has hugely benefitted from Kailash Satyarthi’s support and hours of discussions, getting into the roots of the problem as well as share and incorporate countless real conditions and character-based situations that have been faced by thousands of children at the receiving end.
  • The film aims to bring about huge awareness across countries and platforms towards the cause. The avenues to screen this and benefit to the cause seem long term.
  • 10% of the film’s profit will be dedicated to the cause.

First Responses

“ I like the sound of your film … I’d love to see it when you are ready

… regarding International distribution …”

— Jeremy Gawade, Head of TV & Film Department, Lee & Thompson, UK

“ Toronto greatly looks forward for films like these …”

— Cameron Bailey, Festival Director. Toronto International Film Festival, Canada  

“ Sounds promising … from it’s International reach-out standpoint …”

— Laura Wu, Consultant Sales and Acquisitions, Aktis Films, Germany

“ Sounds absolutely brilliant … tremendous potential in the World Cinema space …”

— Phil Parker, Script Consultant, UK

“ It has the potential of becoming an important film because of what it’s trying to state …”

— Ashutosh Gowariker, Filmmaker, India

“ Engaging story … Powerful backdrop … would love to be associated …”

— Juliane Schulze, Film Development Consultant, Peacefulfish, Berlin

“ I think this would be very very popular with the festivals as well as theatrical will be very well received …You have all the right elements in place …”

— Monique Perro, Buffalo Gal Pictures, Canada

“ Very touching and relevant … Eager to see the film once done …”

— Nam Dong Chul, Festival Organizer, Busan International Film Festival, Korea

“ Very powerful film … It must be made with good aesthetics and production values … Big reach …”

— Bianca Taal, Programmer, International Film Festival, Rotterdam

“Sounds terrific … looking forward to seeing it …”

— Mark Holdom, Umbrella Entertainment, Australia

“ With our Spotlight on India, there will be many producers from across Canada and around the world … Interested in a film like this … It’s a powerful and a moving story of great relevance … I would be happy to help in any way that I can …”

— Jan Miller, Festival Director, Atlantic Film Festival, Canada

“ Your film is on Sundance radar … it’s a significant highlight …this is something of great interest to US & Canada even in theatres … it has a life of it’s own here … in fact a longer than long life …”

— Mark Steele, Werc Werk Works, USA

“ Sure contender for premiers at festivals like Toronto, Cannes, Berlin … and of interest to us for distribution… take care of the Stylistic element in the film.”

— Brian Sweet, Shoreline Entertainment, International Distributors, LA

“ For this film you should aim very high… it deserves great showcasing”

— Santhosh Daniel, The Global Film Initiative, San Francisco

“Great story … Powerful subject … One of the best I’ve ever read …”

— Nick Marston, Chairman, Theatre Film & Television Dept., Curtis Brown, UK. (Man behind literature to screen films like The Horse Whisperer, Four Feathers, Broken, Mojo …) 

“ Exciting characters … strong story … in the tradition of City Of God, Central Station, Erin Brockovich … Tremendous potential …”

— Lucie Ryan, Independent Script Development Consultant (Behind films like Bend It Like Beckham, Walking Ned, Spider … Consultant to UK Film Council, Pathe Pictures and many more)

“ It can be HUGE … you are competing from where Slumdog Millionaire left … it has the potential of being huge …”

— Paul Brett – Prescience Film, UK (Behind films like King’s Speech among others)

“ Beautiful … it’s gorgeous … We will be interested in acquisitions … get in touch with us at completion … We have 12 television channels in Canada … ”

— Susan Alexander – Shaw Media, Canada

“ The film is very interesting … story works fantastically … I’ll be happy to help in whatever capacity I can …”

— Borga Dorter, Gearshift Films, Canada

“Oh it’s so good … It definitely interests us … ”

— Lauren Grant, Clique Pictures, Canada

“ Well … the subject is so wonderfully Universal … it will definitely find a brilliant path …”

— Brigette Monneau – Telefilm Canada