‘Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids’ is set in Sonagachi, Kolkata, India, and focuses on the various children of sex workers who call the area home. In the movie, director Zana Briski makes the decision to teach the young kids the art of photography, and few take to it, as well as Avijit Halder, a young man who had to balance his family life, his education and his passion. Almost two decades since the movie’s release in 2004, the world is curious about where Avijit is these days and how far he has progressed while chasing his dreams.
Who is Avijit Halder?
Having grown up in Sonagachi, Avijit Halder was shown living with his father. He shared how many of the men would spend their mornings at his house to drink and then would go to avail the services of the sex workers that lived nearby. He confessed that since his mother left, he has had to step up owing to the fact that his father was often under the influence of hallucinogenics. Avijit recalled that he remembered a time when his father was a good man but was apparently misled by some men.
Though he disliked being mean in order to recoup money from non-paying customers, Avijit was well aware of the need to do so. He also confessed how he tries to love his father despite the hardships that he has found himself in. In the movie, after the photographs taken by the various kids captured the attention of interested people in other countries, Zana Briski and her team wanted to have Avijit represent the work in Amsterdam, Netherlands. However, it seemed like Avijit was slowly losing his desire to pursue his passion. Even when Briski tried to have him enrolled in a better school, Avijit seemed not on board with the idea that he would have to start at the new school at two grades below his current one in order to better his basics.
Adamant to not lose Avijit to the circumstances surrounding him, Briski ensured that his passport was made on time and took him to Amsterdam. The trip seemingly revitalized the fire within him as Avijit then decided to start studying at Future Hope School in Kolkata. Indeed, Avijit remained steady on his path of education and ended up enrolling at Tisch School of The Arts in New York University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and TV in 2012. This was followed by Avijit earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in Advanced Photographic Studies from the International Center of Photography-Bard College in 2019.
Where is Avijit Halder Now?
As of writing, Avijit Halder seems to be prospering in his life as a photographer. The Indian man’s work has been featured in publications like The Times of India, The New York Sun, and BBC News over the years. He has also given multiple artist talks and has continued to accumulate accolades. Avijit’s most recent accomplishments include being selected as one of the winners of the 2023 Creator Labs Photo Fund and being a part of Photo Vogue’s “Global Open Call: What is beauty?” festival in Milan, Italy.
Avijit was also selected to be a part of the Rockella space artist studio residency in 2023. Additionally, the photographer has had the chance to showcase his work in various solo and group exhibitions, including Der Grief: Guestroom, which was curated by Bindi Vora and Justine Ellis in May 2023. Now living in New York, Avijit continues to work while being connected to his roots, as evident by his “not this, not that” collection. While he prefers to keep details of his personal life under wraps, it seems like Avijit is still in touch with Zana Briski. On a hopeful note, we are quite excited to share Avijit’s own happiness about his recent steps into parenthood, and the artist certainly seems excited about taking care of his child.
Read More: Born into Brothels: Where Are They Now?