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Composer Aadesh makes film on child prostitution
By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Oct 21 (IANS) Composer Aadesh Shrivastava has turned director with a 12-minute film on child prostitution starring "Black" girl Ayesha Kapoor, an experience he describes as "enlightening and life-changing".
"It just happened so suddenly. But it had to happen. I've made a 12-minute film about child prostitution called 'Sanaa'. It stars the 'Black' girl Ayesha Kapoor in the title role," Aadesh told IANS.
Aadesh and child prostitution? "I know it's hard to associate me with something so sensitive. But the idea of doing this film came to me when I was returning from the Mumbai airport at 1.30 a.m. My car was in a lane in Juhu, which is infamous for its red light activity. There, at that unearthly hour, I saw a little girl telling an auto rickshaw driver, 'Give me money and I'll give you pleasure'.
"I was shocked and numbed. For days after I couldn't get the picture of that little girl out of my head. Have we lost all sense of decency in today's day and age? Can we really violate children in such a way? I had to do something about it. The question was what?"
Aadesh had to fight an uphill battle to direct "Sanaa". "First of all, I needed a 10-year-old protagonist who could express all the shades required for this complicated part. When I zeroed in on Ayesha and approached her mother, they were advised by their well-wishers from Bollywood -- whom I don't wish to name -- not to get into this complicated issue. Luckily for me, Ayesha's mother is German and therefore far more liberal than an Indian mother might have been. She understood how important my film's message was."
Throughout the film's making in Mumbai, Ayesha was completely protected from the true nature of the theme. "We took utmost care to withhold the delicate theme from the child. Ayesha was told what to do, but not why."
Aadesh did considerable research on the subject before embarking on the film. "About 20 percent of the Nepali female population that comes to India for the flesh trade is underage. What are we doing about this menace except turning a blind eye pretending everything is fine as long as our own children are safe?
"Through my film, I hope to create awareness. It's been accepted for the Asia-Pacific festival. I also hope to tie up with CRY (Child Relief and You, an NGO) to show it in various parts of the world."
Aadesh is thankful to Sanjeev Mohan Gupta (of the Jagran group) who agreed to finance "Sanaa". "Otherwise who would back such a non-profitable venture? I feel it's time for me to make myself useful in ways other than music. I'm thinking of producing a film for Kalpana Lajmi. I like her subject of 'Devdasi' and will probably produce it."