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Slumdog Children of Mumbai

Slumdog Children of Mumbai
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48 minutes
Nick Read
Nick Read
Executive Producer:
Brian Woods

The Slumdog Children of Mumbai tells the moving stories of Deepa, Salaam, and twins Hussan & Hussein - four children caught up in the maelstrom of life on the streets and in the slums of Mumbai.

Filmed over three months through the monsoon, by award-winning film-maker Nick Read, we witness the bravery, resourcefulness and extraordinary resilience of these children, as they grow up long before they should.

DEEPA 7 year old Deepa works at the Bandra West traffic lights, selling flowers to passing motorists. She buys them at the flower market early in the morning, and spends the day trying to make a small profit – sometimes until late in the evening. She lives with her 3 brothers and grandmother in the Khardanda slum. Her father died in 2008 of an alcohol related disease, and her mother has effectively abandoned her children since then. Deepa is forced to work to help feed her younger siblings, and is often left in sole charge of her 2-year-old brother. Most of all she wants to return to school to become a doctor.

SALAAM 11 year old Salaam originally arrived in Mumbai from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest states. Like so many young runaways, he was fleeing domestic abuse – in his case his new stepmother was beating him for not working hard enough. He arrived at Victoria Station in the summer of 2009, but has yet to make it more than a hundred metres from the station perimeter. He soon fell in with a group of older boys, and resorted to begging and pickpocketing to survive. They introduced him to ‘whitener’ a toxic solvent that many of the boys sniff to help them deal with hunger. When he is not begging, Salaam travels on the trains by faredodging, going to see Bollywood movies and visiting the beach.


11 year old twins Hussan & Hussein live in the Pipeline slum, a ramshackle parade of makeshift squats balanced precariously on a 2 meter wide pipe - home to over 350 families. A rancid canal runs through the middle of the slum, where the twins wash, play and work. Here overcrowding, poverty and substance abuse turn homes into battlegrounds. The twins’ family live in a space 3 metres by 4: their father is an alcoholic, their brother is on drugs. The twins left school several years earlier, and make a living by ‘ragpicking’, collecting rubbish to sell at the local recycling centre. Competition is stiff in the Pipeline slum, so Hussan & Hussein resort to diving into the canal to collect the detritus slum dwellers discard. On a good day they get 25p each for their endeavours.

If you would like to help any of the individuals and families featured in this documentary please contact

If you would like to learn more, find out about organisations working to help children like these in India, or find out how you can help the children we filmed, then click here to go to the Aletheia Foundation website.

if you want to purchase a copy of film click here