HYDERABAD: Reality does not always come sugar-coated. There are many inconvenient facts that we sweep under the carpet, one of them being child abuse.
A Telugu short film ‘Birds’ takes a hard look at how children can be abused sexually, physically and mentally, at shelter homes and in their own houses.
The movie makes a compelling watch with its play of light, shadow and a tight narrative.
Two women give birth to sons and the children lead very different lives. While one of them is abandoned, the other grows up in a seemingly normal home.
But they have one thing in common - abuse. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 39,827 cases were reported in 2018 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
The film might not be an easy watch, and the director, Vishnu Vipparthi, wants people to know the unadulterated truth. “When we talk about child abuse, not many know how pervasive and damaging it can be. I want to spread the message that we must take care of our children. I want kids to watch it so that they know about the consequences of certain actions.”
Vishnu, who was sexually abused in school, worked as an assistant director for Mahanati.
For the short film, he took help from a neighbour who works in a boy’s hostel.
“He told me about many dark secrets that these children face, and I wrote the script taking inspiration from true events. I want the film to reach as many viewers as possible, and realise the gravity of the situation. The movie has many messages for parents, too,” says Vishnu.
While highlighting how vulnerable children can be, the movie also throws light on how child trafficking works. It took Vishnu two months to train the child actors Naga Sri Sayan, Mrunal Sarma and Abdul Riyaz. Arjuna Prasad, who has acted in movies like Mahanati and NTR Kathanayakudu, plays the role of a father in the film.
“Sometimes, you need something negative to drive a positive message. This is a project close to my heart as it carries an important message,” says Arjuna. The movie has English subtitles and can be viewed on YouTube.