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Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Kochi
Avijit Halder ...
(as Avijit)
Shanti Das ...
(as Shanti)
Manik
Puja Mukerjee ...
(as Puja)
Gour
Suchitra
Tapasi
Mamuni
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Storyline

Documentary photographer Zana Briski journeyed into Calcutta's underworld to photograph the city's prostitutes. In return, she offered to teach the prostitutes' children the basics of photography so that the kids could document their own lives on the streets of one of the world's poorest cities. The resulting photographs, often astonishing, were exhibited around the world; many of them are seen in this film, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sequences of strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

|

Release Date:

11 March 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Kids of Sonagachi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,580 (USA) (10 December 2004)

Gross:

$3,410,863 (USA) (20 May 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Tapasi: Just today, I took someone's picture and he bad mouthed me. I didn't mind. You really have to put up with a lot if you want to learn to do something well.
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Connections

Featured in The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Sankarabaranam pancha nadai pallavi
Performed by Shenkar and The Epidemics
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User Reviews

 
Oh Calcutta!
19 February 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The film makers of this documentary take the viewer into areas that would have been off limits to anyone wanting to explore the life of the children of some Calcutta prostitutes. About ten children are showcased in the film as one of the directors of the documentary, Zana Briski, involves the children in something positive as she teaches them how to use the camera in capturing the world around them.

In gaining the children's confidence, they, in turn, tell us about how they see life in that hostile environment. Most of the girls shown in the film would probably end up in the same situation their mothers went through, as it appears life for them is a vicious circle in which there is no escape. For the boys, in spite of the natural talent shown as they take pictures, the mean streets of Calcutta don't promise much either.

As a documentary, Ms. Briski and Mr. Kauffman, show us how they were able to give the children a different way to look at life, but one wonders what has happened after they finished their work. Are these young girls and boys better off because this experience, or did they go back to the only way of life they knew about?

"Born into Brothels" is a sad commentary on our society at large, because where there is poverty, as it's the case in Calcutta, women will resort into the kind of life where they can get by without any education or skills. These women are actually the victims of a system that penalizes them for just being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Let's hope Ms. Briski and Mr. Kaufamn were able to instill in these young girls and boys the idea of looking for something better in their lives if they escape the poor surroundings in which they were born into.


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