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Jhalki movie review : A humanitarian plea for hope, childhood & a call for innocence

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JHALKI movie review is here. Directed by national award-winning filmmaker Brahmanand S. Siingh, the movie raises the issue of child slavery trade and features Aarti Jha in lead along with Boman Irani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Divya Dutta, and Sanjay Suri. The trailer of JHALKI was released at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019 and the movie has been premiered at various national and international film festivals and won 13 awards so far and it is scheduled to be released in India on Children’s Day – November 14, 2019. Does it enlightens us and succeeds in its motto?!, Let’s find out in the movie review of JHALKI.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
JHALKI – this (peep, glimpse) of the horror a child goes through due to child labor demands wide-eyed attention.

The Story of JHALKI
Down with poverty, somewhere near Mirzapur (known for carpets and brassware industries) in Uttar Pradesh, nine-year-old Jhalki (Aarti Jha) and her seven-year-old brother Babu (Goraksh Sakpal) are still able to find some happiness by watching bioscope, etc. A child trafficker played by Govind Namdeo poses as a messiah often visits that remote village and in the pretext of finding a job for the kids of villagers, takes them and sells them. The kids end up as boned labors in carpet mills etc. circumstances mercilessly throw Babu into the inhuman world of child labor and poor JHALKI is left alone and helpless. How the determined JHALKI whose plight is juxtaposed with the intimate folk tale of a tireless sparrow, fights for the freedom of her brother and throws light on the horrifying dark secrets of child labor and its after-effects, forms the crux of the story. JHALKI also offers a tribute to Kailash Satyarthi – Nobel Peace Prize recipient and the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Global March Against Child Labour, Global Campaign for Education.

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JHALKI movie review
JHALKI is piously earnest in its humanitarian cry and plea to protect the innocence of childhood. The writing by Tanvi Jain, Prakash, Brahmanand S. Singh and Kamlesh Kunti Singh with inputs from Prakash Jha may be low in technical finesse but its high on its buoyant, yet often heartbreaking attempt that is inspiring, shocking, surprising with a constant tragic reminder that so many kids are robbed of their dreams, childhood, and promise by exploitative forces, poverty, illiteracy, and rigid system.

Brahmanand S. Singh along with his co-director Tanvi Jain do succeed in efficiently using the folklore of the tireless sparrow who, in her zest of recovering her grain from a hollow log, runs from pillar to post, climbs all the hierarchy from the carpenter, to the king, the queen, air, water etc but with no help. The shadow hand puppets play with paintings find the contrast with the grim reality and we find a simile of the helpless sparrow in JHALKI.

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The strongest point of Brahmanand S. Singh ‘s JHALKI is its earnestness and ability to spark a debate, it’s great humanitarianism on screen. 

The performances are of highest orders where Aarti Jha as JHALKI is perfect. Goraksha Sakpal as Jhalki’s brother fits the bill. Tannishtha Chatterjee as an honest journalist who wants to expose the child trafficking racket is completely natural. Divya Dutta as the wife of the DM is fine. Sanjay Suri as the DM of the city has its moments and is quite good. Akhilendra Mishra as the factory owner is competent. Govind Namdeo as the mean trafficker is fantastic. Joy Sengupta impresses.  Last but not least Boman Irani as Shyam Singh ( a la Kailash Satyarthi) is outstanding.

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Flaws
Rahmanand S. Singh ‘s JHALKI is a case of great humanitarianism on screen but not an example of great filmmaking on screen. The strong topic helps in manipulation but the makers at crucial point fail to add the required graph and dimensions to the characters. The reactions and change of heart of Joy Sengupta, Sanjay Suri, etc are forced at the face. The plight of Babu and the child labors at the carpet factory is not that shocking. The factory setting seems artificial and the atrocities are not highlighted.

The makers may have a reason behind but it was required. Plus the lines of motivation, transformation said by JHALKI are flat. Minute details like how the factory owners manipulate the system, how the racket functions are not delved deep. Plus the makers missed a golden opportunity of making the decisive sweep when the buyers of the carpet react when they come to know about what has gone into the making of their pride possession.

Final words
JHALKI is a (peep, glimpse) of the horror a child goes through due to child labor that demands wide-eyed attention. Brahmanand S. Singh’s metaphoric amalgamation of the tireless sparrow folklore jells with the melancholy of lost childhood, does the consolation act and also beams some hope in those hearts that cares with a tribute to the living angel on earth the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kailash Satyarthi. Going with an extra for the great act of humanitarianism on screen, that reminds us about its power and its capacity to instigate a debate/movement.

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