Dispatches reveals the brutal reality of life on the streets and in the slums of Mumbai, following the daily struggles of four young children to survive.
A few weeks after running away from his abusive stepmother, 11-year-old Salam is living rough outside the main train station. Befriended by a gang of begging boys, run by 20-year-old Asif, Salam speaks fondly of his new 'brother'. But it soon appears that there is a much darker side to being in Asif's gang.
Deepa (pictured) is lucky to be alive after rats attacked her when she was just three months old. Now aged seven, she runs barefoot through the hectic Mumbai traffic to sell flowers to help support her family, doing shifts of up to 20 hours at a time. She lives with her grandmother and brothers in a slum with no electricity or sanitation, next to an open rubbish dump. They survive on less than £1 day since her alcoholic father died two years earlier and her mother abandoned them.
Twins Hussain and Hussan, aged 11, live in a shanty town, balanced precariously on a 10-foot-wide water pipe. Five days a week they collect scrap metal and plastic bottles to sell so they can earn money to eat. They also fish utensils out of the canal that runs alongside their back door to sell, despite the risk of cholera and infection. They say they like where they live; 'We are emperors of the night!' jokes Hussan. But they don't want to think about their futures.
Dispatches provides a deeply moving portrait of the lives of India's real slumdogs, blighted by substance abuse, hardship and heartache, yet proof of the infinite resilience of children, and forced to reach adulthood long before they should.
|Thursday 21 January 2010||Channel 4|
|Thursday 21 January 2010||9PM||Channel 4|