Directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman, ‘Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids’ is a documentary set in Sonagachi, an area within the Indian city of Kolkata. The place is home to several sex workers and their children, the latter of whom are the focus of the 2004 movie. In the film, we see photographer Zana Briski working alongside various kids to help them provide resources to build a life that would allow them to escape the vicious cycle they are seemingly trapped in. Almost two decades later, the film still remains an appreciated piece of media, with people wondering what the people seen in it are up to these days.
Zana Briski is Working With Animals Today
We are starting off with Zana Briski, who spent a significant amount of time in Sonagachi and built a good relationship with several kids who called the place home. For her work, Briski ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005. Continuing the work that she is seen doing in the movie to help the children she was in contact with, Briski helped establish Kids with Cameras, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the skill of photography to kids in need so as to provide them with a skill that they could potentially use to build a better life for themselves.
Having turned 57 on October 25, 2023, Briski is a British citizen by birth but travels across the world for her work. Apart from the movie in question, she has also been the mind behind projects like Animalogram, Panoramas, and Brothel. Her most recent project is called Reverence and features majestic pictures of the animal kingdom. However, very recently, the photographer has decided to retire from the profession and now works closely with animals for their conservation and welfare. Briski is also an author, having written books titled ‘Brothel,’ and ‘Kids with Cameras.’
Avijit Halder is Now a Parent
Let’s now talk about Avijit Halder, the budding photographer in the movie who visited Amsterdam, Netherlands, to represent his work and that of his friends. From that point onwards, Avijit decided to take advantage of the opportunity he saw in front of them and went on to pursue further education. Following his schooling, Avijit became a student at Tisch School of The Arts in New York and graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television in 2012. This was followed by his master’s degree in Advanced Photographic Studies from New York’s International Center of Photography-Bard College, which he gained in 2019.
Avijit himself has continued to make impressive strides in the world of photography. Based in New York, the photographer’s work has been showcased in various exhibitions over the years, including the Photovogue, Global Open Call: What is Beauty? Milan group exhibition that was held in November 2023. He also presented his solo exhibition called Rockella Space at One Eyed Studios in Ridgewood, New York. While the Indian man prefers to maintain privacy on social media, he has been more than happy to talk about his recently acquired title of parent, something he seems quite excited about.
Puja Mukherjee Was Withdrawn From School
Seen in the movie as a vibrant and verbose young girl, Puja Mukherjee had entered the Sabera school. However, following the events seen in the movie, she was apparently taken out of the institute by her mother. Both her mother and grandmother had entered the world of sex work, and while Puja herself seemed hopeful about a different future, the Sonagachi native does not seem to be very active on social media and does not seem to have shared many details of her recent life with the world.
Following the success of the documentary movie, she allegedly became a part of Kids with Destiny, an organization meant to help underprivileged kids in India, along with their mothers. As per Kids with Cameras, an organization by Zana Vriski, Puja, along with the other kids in the film, was able to make a life outside the world of sex work and successfully pursued higher formal education.
Kochi Continued Her Education
Having entered the Sabera school alongside many of her female friends, Kochi seemingly stayed in the school in order to continue her education. According to the update shared by filmmakers, her life took quite a good turn, and she was “happy and doing well.” Not unlike her friends, she apparently also became a part of Kids with Destiny alongside the other kids from Sonagachi. While Puja does not seem active on social media, we are positive that she is indeed doing well in life.
Shanti Das Decided to Leave School
Shanti Das also entered the school Sabera school along with a few other girls from Sonagachi. However, the young girl apparently left the school on her own accord. While it seems that Shanti was also a part of Kids with Destiny, she also does not seem very active on social media and has refrained from publically sharing recent life updates. As per Kids with Cameras, she seemingly was also able to resume her formal education.
Manik Das Was Not Allowed to Pursue Education
Brother to Shanti Das, Manik Das was also hopeful about joining the school, something his mother also seemed tentatively hopeful about. However, his father allegedly decided not to allow his son to go to school. Since then, Malik has not shared many details about his life with the public. According to Kids with Cameras, it seems like Manik was indeed able to pursue his education further.
Suchitra’s Aunt Did Not Het Her Leave
Having lost her mother, Suchitra was living with her aunt when she was seen in the movie. It was disclosed in the documentary that the aunt wanted Suchitra to go to Mumbai, India, in order to be part of the sex work industry there. It was believed that the older lady thought this would help her make more money, with even the younger kids stating that Suchitra would not be allowed to pursue her wants by her aunt. Apparently, despite the opportunities provided by Zana Briski and her colleagues, Suchitra’s aunt did not let her leave the brothel. However, Kids with Cameras later asserted that none of the featured children returned to the world of prostitution, which likely includes Suchitra
Gour Pursued Higher Education
A young and caring man, Gour seemed to know much about his friends and was genuinely concerned about their well-being. He seemed quite earnest in wanting a good future not only for himself but also for his friends. After the movie’s production ended, Gour was still living at his home in Sonagachi. However, he was hopeful about pursuing further education and hopefully become a University student one day. As per the assertions of Kids with Cameras, Gour likely did get to fulfill this dream of his.
Tapasi Ran Away From Home
Likely not finding the support she wanted, Tapasi decided to take her life’s reins into her own hands. Hence, she decided to flee from her home and pursue her education. Taapsi was able to join Sanlaap School for Girls, which likely opened up a new world of opportunities for the young girl. We are hopeful that since then, Tapasi has continued to work hard and is now pursuing a life away from the environment she grew up in.
Read More: Where is Avijit From Born into Brothels Now?