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Sanaa - From dust to human dirt

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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Aadesh Shrivastava's short-film wrenches your guts for various reasons. First of all it's the first film to focus on the thorny and unbearable subject of child prostitution. It features the Black prodigy Ayesha Kapoor. Within a span of less than ten minutes little Ayesha takes us on a nerve-wracking journey that spins us into a dizzy web of guilt, accusation and regret for the lost childhood that we owe to all the Sanaa's of this vicious and insensitive world.

Music-director turned filmmaker Aadesh Shrivastava packs in plenty of punch in his compact film. The abundance of talent helps to give the story an immediacy and credibility, as does the real locations where Sanaa moves within minutes from impoverished innocence to enforced and irredeemable corruption.

Pratima Kazmi puts in a cameo as Sanaa's mother and Seema Biswas chips in as 'Mausi' managing the monstrously perverse careers of the children. Akhilendra Mishra has the thankless role of the 'Seth' who seduces the 9-year old child. Someone has got to do the dirty work.

Admirably Aadesh Shrivastava has stuck his head into a dark and disturbing area of our lives. Ishwar Bidri's camera takes us through a complex geographical, emotional and sexual labyrinth, as we see Sanaa's innocence crushed to the ground.

A lot of attention is paid to intrinsic details. Manas Choudhary's sound design, replete with routine traffic noises in Mumbai and screams piercing through the mundane landscape, and Jayant Deshmukh's art direction lend an aura of agonizing aestheticism to this bitter film about the end of innocence.

Aptly, it ends with Shabana Azmi warning us of how many more Sanaas will be driven into the streets if we don't learn to take care of our children.

But are we really listening?

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