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Parents' Guide to

The Revolutionary Optimists

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Indian slum kids stand up for themselves in poignant docu.

Movie NR 2013 83 minutes
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This moving documentary captures the lives of kids who could so easily give up -- life has dealt them seemingly insurmountable odds -- but manage to find in Ganguly a magical godfather of sorts. He's always ready with an inspirational story or a question to make the kids think. He's patient and kind and realizes what a messed-up world these kids inhabit -- one in which most of the greater population plays blind and deaf to their needs.

But these kids won't stay silent. There's young Salim, who's part of Dakabuko (The Daredevils) in his slum colony. He works tirelessly to make the government aware of his community's need for clean water. At one point, a UNICEF official jokes that if it weren't against child labor laws, he'd offer Salim a job; he's that passionate. There's also Salim's neighbor/best friend, Sikha, who fights for girls' equal rights and wants to start a coed soccer tournament. Kajal must work in a brick field as her family's sole breadwinner, but she wants to fight for her education. And beautiful 15-year-old Priyanka loves to dance but fears that early marriage is her only way out of an abusive, disinterested home. Not everyone gets a happily ever after, but the filmmakers show how all it takes is one person who believes in them for these children to rise up and have hope.

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