Shooting in garbage dump for #ChotuKaChildhood was a killer experience: Anupama Ramaswamy
Ramaswamy, Managing Partner and NCD, dentsu Impact, reveals that the team used some people from their own crew as characters to make the work come across as relatable
In a powerful campaign, Dentsu Impact, in association with My Choices Foundation and Saregama Caravan, has highlighted the plight of child labours and intends to change the world for the better - one child at a time. The film #ChotuKaChildhood showcases various versions of Chotu and the hellish world in which they exist. It communicates their silent suffering. It also sends out a message that the next time anyone sees such heinous abuses around, s/he must report it and not walk away. We caught up with Anupama Ramaswamy, Managing Partner and National Creative Director, dentsu Impact to understand what went behind shooting and creating this ad campaign-a chilling ode to ‘Chotu’ which creates an instant impact as you see it.
Edited excerpts below:
Ramaswamy shared that the starting point of the ad campaign was My Choices Foundation’s thought of wanting the world to note that there are too many children who still do not enjoy full rights and free choices. “The problem is we all feel sad when we see a child working for a living, but nobody reports such instances. The numbers of child labourers in India are astonishing. They wanted to bring to notice the violence, abuse and exploitation these children go through. We did a little research, and what we found was astounding. India has the largest number of children working in the world. But we walk away, without reporting it. I believe that child labour exists because we allow it to exist. It exists because people accept it and make excuses for it,” she explained.
Sharing an incident she witnessed, Ramaswamy added, “Some years back while going to work, I had once seen a kid waiting for his school bus in the morning. Only later did I realise, he was just holding the school bag of another child and once the bus came, he handed the bag to the other boy and waved him goodbye. It was the saddest thing ever. It has been haunting me ever since.”
Acknowledging that idea usually looks good on paper but because of cost barriers one ends up compromising on quality, Ramaswamy stated that the team got lucky on those lines. “Shashanka Chaturvedi, aka Bob, loved the idea and he developed the concept with me. We actually agreed on one key thing that we will keep it real. We will not sugar quote it. The film was shot in Delhi, and the DOP was Bob himself,” she said.
Sharing some shooting anecdotes, Ramaswamy revealed that the team used some people from their own crew as characters. “Shooting in the garbage dump was one “killer” experience,” she revealed. Moreover, she added the team tried their best to look for faces which are real and unseen. “Bob is quite amazing when it comes to casting. He did take a bit to zero-in on the whole look. It is difficult to shoot real,” she asserted.
Furthermore, Ramaswamy shared that there were nuances that weren’t planned for the ad but were retained. “We tweaked the whole school bus situation into a school bag situation, because we felt it would be a tad bit surprising to the viewers. In fact there was a hard-hitting scene on the banks of Benaras which was about kids who are employed to collect coins from the river bed (for the purpose of gambling), which we could not incorporate because of budget constraints,“ she said.
The film goes on to urge that next time anyone sees such heinous abuses around, it must be reported to 1800 419 8588 or by visiting www.mychoicesfoundation.org
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