Laura and her partner Sarah are two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When they aren't tucking into their latest delicious find, they're writing, photographing and designing at www.sarahlauradesign.com
Published October 4th 2014
Siddarth is the desperate seach for a father to find his son
The search for a missing child is a trial that no parent would wish to endure. Siddharth is the tale of a desperate father who does just that; undergoing weeks of travel in the hope to find and bring his son back to his family home in New Delhi.
Mahendra Saini (Rajesh Taillang) is the local chain-wallah in his poverty stricken town in Dehli. He makes enough money to feed his family and keep a roof over their heads by fixing zippers on the streets. After struggling to make ends meet, Mahendra's brother-in-law suggests his 12 year old son, Siddarth, should go to work in a trolley factory some distance away in another province. We see our first glimpse of Siddharth as his father sees him safely onto the bus for his journey. All seems well until Siddharth does not show up for Diwali, an Indian festival, four weeks later. Desperate for answers, Mahendra seeks out his brother-in-law only to discover he had known Siddharth was missing for two weeks.
Mahendra's journey allows us a glimpse into the everyday life of living below the poverty line in India; as viewers we are brought into his home and family life. We see the gender roles in place in the way Mahendra's wife Suman (Tannishtha Chatterjee) immediately prepares a glass of water every time he comes home, the comparisons between the standard of living for Mahendra's family and that of his wealthier brother-in-law's. We also feel the fear and helplessness grow in Mahendra himself as time inexorably passes while he earns and borrows enough money to be able to travel. As time passes, exhaustion, stress and desperation take its toll as he comes to realise that he can no longer remember what his son looks like.
The story plays out against the backdrop of Indian society. Socio-economic factors, environmental concerns and the prevalence of child-labour are all visible yet not the focus of the film. They take second place to the search of a father's missing son - a reality all to common amongst lower class families in India.
It brings to light how much technology and literacy is taken for granted in the 'upper class' and in the Western world. Mahendra's daughter Pinky (Khushi Mathur) is the only one who can use the family mobile phone to assist in the search. It is startling when the first enquiry is made with authorities, that Mahendra does not even possess a photo of his son. Roshni Madam, the officer, even states 'You people never learn. You make the mistake, then you cry about it. Child labour is against the law. ...You could send him to school. Educate him so he can become something.' Unfortunately for Mahendra, and many in his situation, having Siddharth work and provide for the family was more important than schooling.
Two scenes stand out to us for their bleak and brutally honest perspective on the fate of so many lost children in India. In one Mahendra approaches two street children for help. One replies "Maybe Siddharth got lucky and left this world." In another, Mahendra finally calls his father, who advises in harsh and realistic terms that Mahendra has two people who depend on him for their survival, and that he should give up and go home and provide for them.
Which poses the question - what would you do in this situation?
Richie Mehta's (Director) cinematography is rich and engaging throughout the film and gives the viewer an intimate and unique perspective on this harrowing tale.
Siddharth has already won numerous awards including Sydney International Film Festival - Official Selection 2014, Toronto International Film Festival - Official Selection 2013, Beijing Film Festival - Best Picture.