Tag Archive | Zana Briski

The Cultural Capital of India…Brightness and Darkness

Dear Readers,

Today I am here to show you the Brightness and Darkness of a third most populous metropolitan in India locating on the banks of Hooghly river…

Kolkata – Formerly known as Calcutta, capital of West Bengal State and also capital of British India…

It was found in 1690 by East India company and then ruled by Nawab of Bengal. From 1833 to 1912 Calcutta is the capital of British India.

Calcutta has a very prominent history in Incredible India. Right from freedom fighters to Arts , Social service, Science ,Philosophy, Literature , Politics and also ( Will let you know the last one down the line)… what not each and every aspect has an association with Calcutta.


It immersed all the darkness and brightness in to it and resting for many decades in the history of India. It is the home to India’s oldest and largest stock exchange and a financial hub of east India once upon a time but on the other side it is the only metropolitan city in India with hand pulled rickshaws still existing.


When Britishers left India, Some of them left their impressions in the hearts of Indian people like Sir Arthur Cotton but it was faded as time passed by. But this city with deep emotions still holds some of the memories with in it and shows the world that India will never forget the good things.


Victoria Memorial Hall – A  monument in the memory of Queen Victoria

It is the only city in South Asia with trams still existing.


Trams built by Britishers in Kolkata

The strength of Calcutta (Kolkata) comes from the Field of the Goddess – Kali who destroys the evil and protects the city. The major and important festivals in India- Durga Pooja which is most awaited festival for Bengali’s.


Goddess Durga

If I need to name the personalties from Calcutta, I am sure that I have to write this blog for days and days to mention all of them but I am taking this opportunity to show the most and prominent ones among them . Here they are


C.V Raman – Nobel Prize winner for Physics and Known for Raman Effect


Rabindranath Tagore – Nobel prize winner for literature and composer of India National Anthem.


Swami Vivekananda – Indian Monk who introduced vedanta and yoga to western world and founder of Ramakrishna Math


Mother Teressa – Blessed Teressa of Calcutta – Nobel Peace prize Award winner and the founder of Missionaries of Charity.


Rajendra Prasad – First President of Republic India


Amartya Sen – Indian economist and Nobel prize – Economics Winner. Currenlty working in Harvard University


Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay – Indian Bengali writer and composer of Indian National Song – Vandemataram


Raja Ram Mohan Roy – Known as Father of Modern India – A social and educational Reformer


Sir Ronald Ross – Indian Born British doctor – Nobel prize winner for Medicine for his work on Malaria in Calcutta


J.C. Bose – Bengali Physict – Known for Invention of crescograph and Millimeter waves

By  this  time  you would have known the history of Calcutta with most prominent persons in Indian and World history. But isn’t it contradicting to my title Brightness and Darkness as I am showing you only one side which is the brightness. All these famous persons tried their best to develop Calcutta in all the aspects…

But as  we all know everything in the world has ups and downs similar to a coin with head and tail , Day and Night, Black and white, Good and Bad..Even Calcutta is not an exception for the same..

With many historical figures from Calcutta , this city stood up ahead in the history of India but not able to vanish out the darkness of it..It’s nothing but Prostitution..Yes readers, you read it right..( No Photos for showing the same because I don’t want to..)

Prostitution happens in many forms. But it is mostly in the form of brothels in Calcutta and Sonagachi district which is the largest red light district in Calcutta.

Note : I am just trying to show the Brightness and Darkness of Calcutta and some little efforts which brightened the dark future of some children who are “BORN INTO BROTHELS”.

“Born in to Brothels “


Born in to Brothels is a documentary film about the children of Calcutta’s red light district written and directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman

I don’t even know about this short film till I read this news in Oct,2013. Initially I was very irritated with the title “Born in Kolkata brothel, now asst director in Hollywood” thinking why the hell do they need to mention that he was born in brothel in the headlines when he achieved something good. Then I started reading the news and came to know that he was shown in some documentary film related to brothels and to my anxiety I watched the whole film to see what the film is about. I was totally fascinated about the pictures that were taken by the children and the future they are imagining.

Initially I started this post to tell at least some people about this film who are not aware about this like me but somehow my heart disagreed to mention only about this short film. Because if I project about this film it is indirectly projecting the Calcutta in negative way to all the readers. That is why the reason I started with  the bright side and hope everyone will understand this.

Zana Briski , a Photographer, film maker came to India to make a  documentary about the prostitutes in red light area of Calcutta. Initially no one allowed her to take their photographs or to listen their stories. That is when “Born in Brothels” born. She thought of learning photography to the kids so that their parents trust her and also thinking that at least children will be out of brothels. I must say that she succeeded. Two of the kids from “Born in to Brothels” studying photography in New York with the funds raised from selling the photographs they took in Calcutta. To raise more funds for the children from brothels, Kids With Cameras organization has been started where they sell the photographs taken by children.

As I already said, This short film has got many academy awards and criticises too. But still it helped a lot for the kids to make up their future.

Hats Off!!! A little help saved their lives…

You can watch the film here and it has sub-titles in English.

I hope you liked reading this post.

Please let me know your comments as I love to hear from you!!! Don’t forget to follow my blog..

I just want to end this with a disclaimer – All images are from Google. As this is very sensitive topic, harsh and vulgar comments will not be approved. No offence meant to anyone.

Bye for now..

P.S:  Kids With Cameras  has everything about the kids in the short film and their whereabouts if someone is interested to know about them.