Culture Machine's Amoli tells a heart-wrenching story about sexual exploitation of children
This hard-hitting docudrama tells a heart-wrenching story based on true events — of a girl gone missing from the hills of West Bengal. However, it is more than just about a missing person here — Mumbai-based Culture Machine, is addressing a social issue head-on. The digital media company has made Amoli - Priceless, one of the first digital documentaries in the country, on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in India.
“When we did our research, there were many social issues,” says Akanksha Seda, Culture Machine’s Creative Head. “But, it was shocking to see the numbers related to the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children in India and that is why we decided to choose it as the subject of our documentary because the harsh truth needs to be told.”
With the expertise of National Award winning filmmakers Jasmine and Avinash Roy (for the film Saanjh), Amoli has been constructed on the basis of extensive investigation conducted by the team over a period of nine months from April to December 2017, during the pre-production stage. The team also referred to the Justice Verma Committee Report to strengthen the documentary with facts that state “every eight minutes, a child goes missing in India.” It also goes on to state that on an average, 44,000 children go missing in India, every year. Armed with these facts, the production team including Akanksha, Jasmine and Avinash visited the locations and hit ground zero. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t go as expected.“Given the sensitivity of the issue, it was tough. We had to visit the houses several times but after many failed attempts, we managed to convince the families to talk and tell us their stories,” Avinash Roy, director of Amoli, tells us.
The plot of Amoli revolves around the search of a missing girl named Amoli from Siliguri, West Bengal to the transit areas and ultimately to the final destination, where the girl becomes a victim of flesh trade. It also showcases a brutal exposé of the inner workings of the heinous industry — valued approximately at a whopping $32 billion. “While the main character is a missing girl, the film mainly talks to parents and activists along with people in the industry who have been fighting for the freedom of the girls,” says Jasmine Roy, co-director of Amoli. The National Crime Records Bureau report revealed a vast disparity in the number of cases reported versus number of missing children. As mentioned earlier, 44,000 children went missing every year, but only a mere 3,490 are reported. They hope to bridge the gap by releasing this document across digital platforms to start a conversation and make talking about the subject easier than before.
Amoli - Priceless, a 30-minute-long Hindi documentary narrated by Rajkummar Rao, is releasing on May 7 across digital platforms, Youtube and Facebook. It will also be dubbed in six other languages including English, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada.