Mumbai: National Award winning actor Manoj Bajpayee and director Dipesh Jain, who are awaiting the release of their upcoming film “In The Shadows”, say it is an attempt to address the issue of child abuse. They hope it brings about a change in the mindset of the parents towards their children.
Set in old Delhi, the film deals with the constant suffocation that the two main characters of the story go through as they are stuck not only in the bylanes of the place, but also in life due to a certain situation. Jain told IANS: “The life of these two characters is cocooned in the space where they are living. While the young boy who suffers from child abuse, wants to go out of the place, the middle-aged man who is psychologically damaged and in search of something that even he doesn’t know, becomes obsessed to find a way for the boy.
“While the boy’s physical condition goes from bad to worse, the man’s mental condition worsens gradually. How in such a crisis, they help each other to find a way, is the story. We are trying to change the mindset of the parents who tend to normalise child abuse as part of raising up their kids.”
Explaining the concept further, Manoj said: “Normalising child abuse is very dangerous. One cannot traumatise a child at their tender age when their mind is at a very impressionable phase. A child does not deserve to be abused by elders physically and mentally.”
Manoj said he has worked with street children who are victims of child abuse. “They shared their stories with me, specially children who spend nights at the railway platforms, escaping from their home, from their abusive parents. When they are out on the road, they get sexually abused by other people. Think about the reality… Do they deserve such a life?”
“In The Shadows” has travelled to various film festivals and is all set for a round at upcoming film galas like Busan International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and International Film Festival of Los Angeles. Emphasising on the universal appeal of the story, Jain said: “I think whether the festival audience whom we consider intellectual people and common people during the test screening — both sections connected to the story and the human emotions. Therefore, I think it should potentially reach out to the mass audience once it releases in India.”
“I think the issue of child abuse in a very global, not limited to our Indian society, and so people are connecting to the story worldwide,” added Manoj.