Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra recently expressed his desire to make a film that highlights woes of children living in slum areas, particularly drawing attention to their access to basic amenities such as toilets. In an event held recently, by an NGO called Yuva Unstoppable, Mehra said that as a filmmaker, he feels the need to address the lack of facilities for children residing in the poorer sections of the society.
Mehra spoke about his recent experience at a slum in Mumbai, where he witnessed the toilets used by children there. Noticing that there were makeshift toilets on top of a mountain with separate timings for men and women, Mehra knew the importance of toilets for the inhabitants of slums. “It is very important to make toilets. I am a filmmaker, I am a writer, so I thought why not make something with this subject. It comes naturally to me to pick up a camera, even start shooting on my mobile. That’s my hobby, that’s my passion, that’s my life,” he said.
Mehra learnt from his interaction with children from the slum that while high-rise buildings have 200 toilets, almost 1,100 slum homes in the area had none. This was a defining moment for Mehra. “I got inspired and I started writing around that and I wish to make that film one day. Their voices and their stories can reach out to the world. It is a very interesting story because those guys are full of life and I haven’t seen such happy children in the best of the gated communities in the world,” he said.
Mehra has been associated with the NGO for almost two years now. Last year, Mehra participated in a similar event and focused on talking about the importance of building toilets rather than temples. “Child drop out ratio is due to the lack of toilet facilities. Why will our children go to such schools where there are no toilet facilities. Cleanliness is much more important than education,” he had said.
While he plans on making a film on the issue, Mehra is currently gearing up for his forthcoming film Mirzya. The film, starring Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, is based on a Punjabi folktale. Mirzya will release on 7 October.
Feature Image Courtesy: The Indian Express