“A child goes missing every eight minutes in India,” Vidya Balan voiceover somberly tells us in Blush’s new documentary, Amoli. Amoli, meaning priceless, is a reference to India’s ‘missing daughters’. The no-frills documentary, lasting a little less than thirty minutes, is an agonising reminder of our privilege in living the lives that we do.
Made by Being Indian / Blush, the video talks about the the ‘2.4 to 3.6 million children in India that are currently trapped’ in the sex trade.
The documentary takes us into the homes of the people we treat as the ‘other’. The ones who live on the periphery of our metropolitan vision. The ones who exist largely as data, as newspaper headlines. The ones we only remember as the faceless masses who produce our food for us. The ones we empathise with because they do not have the basic necessities of life we take for granted but do nothing to help resolve the problems.
The ones who are too poor, too low down the caste chain, too dark-skinned to satisfy our need for rural chic, and too far removed from the city lights to even consider thinking about.
Amoli begins with the police breaking into a brothel and rescuing eight girls and tells us their story in snippets. Tales so harrowing, you wonder at their resilience and mourn the death of their childhood – snatched away all too soon by greed and perversion.
The documentary has two versions, the one in Hindi is narrated by Rajkummar Rao and the one in English is narrated by Vidya Balan. In neither language is the terror in the eyes of these young girls, and the story of how they were abucted and at times sold by their own family members, easier to handle.
As narrated by Rajkummar Rao:
As narrated by Vidya Balan: