with Adil Hussain (Life of Pi), Tannishtha Chatterjee (Brick Lane), Nandita Bora and others Written, Directed & Produced by Partho Sen-Gupta ~ Cinematography by Jean-Marc Ferriere ~ Music by Eryck Abecassis
Psychological Thriller / 90min approx (1h30min) / Hindi (subtitles in English/French and other languages)
THE STORY In the sprawling megalopolis of Mumbai, Inspector Joshi searches desperately for his six-year-old daughter, Aruna, who one day, ten years ago, had not come home after school. By day, Joshi is a cog in the wheel of the apathetic police force; by night, he roams the backstreet dancing bars endlessly searching for his daughter. A shadowy figure appears to be everywhere Joshi goes but, despite numerous attempts to catch him, it remains elusive. Late at night, Joshi returns to his cramped apartment to face his broken wife (scene in the teaser).
Mani, a 6-year-old girl, is brought by traffickers to a brothel and is entrusted to Komal, a teenage prostitute. The girl watches as the other children are sent out to ‘clients’. Joshi and the other cops lead a raid on the brothel, but the pimps hide the children in a false ceiling. Joshi feels the presence of the shadowy figure.
Babu, a 16-year-old boy, is brought to Joshi badly beaten. Joshi cannot get any answers out of him. He decides to investigate Babu’s family but nothing is turned up. Yet he feels the presence of the shadowy figure.
Before the SUNRISE, Joshi must catch the elusive figure that destroys the lives of children.
Every 5th Child in the world lives in India.
Once in Mumbai, I saw a group of people outside a police station silently protesting. There were men and woman of all ages and all classes of Indian society. Their faces were drawn and they sat or stood holding large pictures of smiling children. The names, ages and the dates their children had disappeared were handwritten under the pictures. Some had disappeared on their way back from school, some while they were playing in gardens and parks or while out with their parents.
As I stood and watched their sadness, I was reminded of something that had happened to me when I was seven years old, at a time when parents still allowed their children to go out unsupervised. My friends and I were playing innocently on the beach. As we dug holes and built turrets in the sand, two men came up, grabbed me and tried to take me away. I screamed and struggled. My friends called for help and some adults came running. The two men panicked, dropped me and ran away. This traumatic event has stayed with me throughout my life, often reproducing itself in disturbing nightmares. I have often wondered what my life would have been like had I been abducted. I have tried to imagine my parents’ grief and the effect it would have had on their lives. I wonder what and where I would be today. I imagined my parents standing across the street, silently holding up my picture, my father looking defeated, as if he had been rendered impotent by this loss, but with a hint of anger in his eyes, a spark that could ignite at any moment. My mother just sitting and staring into the distance.
Sunrise is a thought provoking and hard-hitting film that addresses the taboo of child abuse in India. In 2007, the Ministry of Woman and Child Development published the ‘Study on Child Abuse: India 2007’. It reveals that an alarming 53.22% of children in India reported having faced sexual abuse. (http://wcd.nic.in/childabuse.pdf). Nevertheless, the Indian Penal Code does not recognise child abuse as an offence and most offenders (local and foreign) escape with light sentences.
My aim is to meld social commentary and the thriller genre together in order to extend the film’s reach as, due to the popularity of fiction feature films in India, a fictionalised account will have a greater impact than a documentary. The film’s intention is to generate discussion of this neglected topic among ordinary Indians and encourage legal action against those who target children for abuse.
Charity screenings will be organised worldwide alongside a general release in order to raise money for organisations fighting child abuse and to raise awareness of the problem