Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi once said, “Our silence on rape and abuse of children is the biggest threat to their freedom and safety.”
In recent years, there has been a steady rise in sexual crimes against children and teenagers across the country. Unfortunately, the reality is that as a society, we are still uncomfortable about addressing this social evil.
From parents to schools, the reluctance in broaching a subject that has pervaded into our daily lives is a concern that requires immediate attention. Remaining silent is also a crime, and it’s time that parents and educators made a concerted effort to correct it.
Udne Do is a short film by Mumbai-based filmmaker Aarti Bagdi that sheds light on the prevalence of child sexual abuse through an eye-opening narrative set against the backdrop of a school. The film involves children as protagonists.
In the words of the filmmaker, Udne Do is an empowering, educative and sensitising experience that speaks to both children and adults and offers a conversation around the prevention of child sexual abuse, while making a case for a zero-tolerance attitude towards it.
A passion project that Aarti had conceived for the Gravittus Foundation, a Pune-based non-profit organisation, the film was a learning experience for the filmmaker as she was exposed to the ground reality of how lightly child sexual abuse is taken in India.
“There is a burning need for ‘good touch-bad touch’ sessions across every educational institution. We need parents and schools to open up about child sexual abuse with children, as it will help them identify the wrongdoers and protect themselves,” she says to The Better India.
Starring veteran actor Revathy in the lead role, Udne Do is a compelling take on how together as a society, we can crack down on child sexual offenders—whether it is someone at home or a stranger in a school.
The fear that children display as they attempt to speak about abuse, our refusal to acknowledge or bring justice to the crime fearing societal judgement, and schools refusing to take any action—each of these aspects have been honestly explored in the film that every parent must watch with their kids.
Making a much-needed noise in present times, the short film has found a positive reception for its realistic portrayal and has received praise from eminent public figures such as Kailash Satyarthi, Rajiv Chandrashekar, author Roopa Pai, as well as award-winning Japanese filmmaker Hisashi Eto.
In addition to that, well-known celebrities like Farhan Akhtar, Parineeti Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, Amruta Fadnavis, Kajal Aggarwal, Subhash Ghai, Soni Razdan, Amrita Singh, Lara Dutta, Meghna Ghai, Rahul Puri, Harshvardhan Rane, and Manjari Fadnis have appreciated the film on their social media handles.
You can preview the short film below and after watching it, do spread along the message to every parent (and child) you know:
Let’s stand together and show zero tolerance towards child sexual abuse because our children deserve better.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)