Bhukkad: Opening the doors of learning for underprivileged children

Bhukkad: Opening the doors of learning for underprivileged children

Young Bhukkad is perpetually inquisitive. He doesn’t go to school and there is no way he can mitigate his doubts about the world.

So, Bhukkad randomly throws questions at visitors who come to Kamathipura in Mumbai, where his mother is a sex worker.

One kindly visitor tells him the story of Munshi Premchand and another, a foreigner, recites him Daffodils by Wordsworth.

Another benevolent soul helps him with his ‘solar system’ project.

So, he learns science, Hindi, and English from ‘teachers’ he finds on the road.

Bhukkad translates as ‘the one who is hungry.’

Anaam Mishra’s short film Bhukkad holds the message that the one who is inquisitive and hungry for knowledge will fullfil it somehow.

The film is an initiative of the Millennium School Project’s ‘The Open Door Project.’

Bhukkad was the only film to win a gold at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Keralite Mathew Varkey was the film’s casting director.

He is the son of journalist K.C. Varkey and Beena, a teacher.

The cast was picked by the Mumbai-based team of Mathew Varkey.

Abishek, who plays the protagonist, was picked after extensive travel in India. The ‘search team’ scouted for a child with a distinct north-eastern facial appeal and could speak Hindi.

The team finally spotted Abishek from Mumabi and he was moulded for the shoot in an acting workshop. The other actors were picked from various parts of the country.

The 11-minute film was shot on real locations. Cameraman Kain Jagtianai spent many days in Kamathipura to imbibe the ways of life there.

Screenwriter Swathi Bhattacharya also spent time with them, painstakingly talking to people living there to understand how they landed up in the place.

Finally, a lot of people who lived there ended up associating with the film.

The casting team worked free of cost, since the film “worked with the mission of eradicating illiteracy.”

There was initial opposition from people but it gently turned to support as they were told that the film was for the benefit of children in Kamathipura too.

A special screening was held for the residents of Kamathipura.

Screenings are being planned at red-light areas across the country.

The shooting of the film started on April 12, the Day for Street Children. At the helm of the project is entrepreneur Shantanu Prakash.

Under the Open Door Project, teachers in schools extend their services to indigent children.

The Open Door Project’ intends to provide to poor children all the benefits of a full-fledged and equipped school.

As of now, 35,000 children are reaping the benefits of this project.

here are scholarships available too. Special learning programmes are being created for children from slums and red streets. The project aim to benefit the 80 lakh children who do not go to school.