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Ravi Jadhav's Marathi film Balak Palak not only tackles the issue of sex education but also explains why the subject is still considered a taboo
Around a year back, a simple question from his son, set acclaimed Marathi film director Ravi Jadhav thinking. "He asked me why were girls not talking to him. He felt curious because until a few years back they would all play together," says Jadhav. Mulling over and over on this question and after researching about issue of sex education not only in India but also in Europe, Jadhav set upon the idea of making a film on the subject titled Balak Palak. His film is based on the play Balak Palak, which he saw at a college function a few years ago. "The playwright of the play told me it was impossible to convert the play into a film. That refuted my belief even more," says the director of the award-winning films like Natrang and Balgandharv. With the film, Balak Palak, he hopes to bridge the gap of 'uncomfortable conversations between parents and children'.
Set in the year 1985 in a chawl in Mumbai, the film is the tale of four teenagers, two boys and two girls. Having led a normal life, they are puzzled when an older girl who has been an elder sister figure for them, suddenly leaves the locality unannounced. "The children are beaten up by their parents when they question why she has left, with one of the boy's father telling him 'she left because she ate cow-dung'. While the children are unaware of the fact that she is pregnant, they venture out to question the exact reasons as to what has actually happened," he says.
Jadhav informs that there is nothing new about the manner in which young children go about finding answers to such questions, given that teachers are embarrassed to teach it in class and parents find it against their culture to talk about it. "The film also talks about the flip-side of gaining this information from wrong sources," he says. Starring the likes of Kishor Kadam, Sai Tamhankar, Prathamesh Parab, Shashwati Pimplikar, Madan Devdhar, Bhagyashree Shankpal, Rohit Phalke, Subodh Bhave, Amruta Subhash, Avinash Narkar, Vishakha Subhedar, Anand Ingale, Satish Tare and Supriya Pathare, the film is being produced by Ritiesh Deshmukh. The music duo Vishal Shekhar also make their debut in the Marathi film industry with the film, which will release in theatres across Maharashtra, in January.
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