Runaway children: The harsh realities

Runaway children: the harsh realities

Railway Children

Kannada (U/A)

Cast: Manohara K, Syed Pervez, Yash Shetty, Divya M R, Karthik, Parimala

Director: Prithvi Konanur

Rating: Average

After making film festival rounds and bagging a clutch of awards, Railway Children, a docudrama about the trials and tribulations of runaways, has finally arrived on Sandalwood screens.

Inspired by Rescuing Railway Children, written by Lalitha Iyer and Malcolm Harper, the film spotlights on runaway children and the harsh realities they encounter out of their homes and how they are caught in a web of lumpen elements, exploitation and then forced into illegal activities.

The film revolves around one such 12-year-old, who, having faced domestic violence, flees from family, but finds that life outside is not that rosy as thought to be. Incidentally, there is a reason behind the runaway's parental reprobation, to reveal which would dilute the film's core concern.

Soon after landing at a city railway station, the runaway is swarmed by similar destitutes who are now under a kingpin. The child, who is first spotted by an activist, rebuffs her kind and well-meaning overtures, only to fall into the trap of the kingpin and in the company of sniffers and garbage collectors.

While one should praise director Prithvi Konanur for his searing and poignant portrayal of runaways and the need for societal intervention, the narrative falls short on several counts, lacking taut scripting and deftness of aesthetics to make it more effective.

The film's child protagonist Manohara won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist as also the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Child Actor (Male) for his performance. The movie was also named the Second Best Film at 2016 Karnataka State Film Awards.

S Viswanath


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