Street Bullets, a window into the lives of street children in Karachi
Away from the glittering, clean and affluent parts of well-off Karachi lies a much gory area where people at the very bottom rung in Karachi live – the street children. Through the directing and production ability of Naziha Mahmood, Street Bullets zooms in and highlights the plight of these street flowers, as the feature documentary aptly calls them.
Mahmood has dedicated herself to this cause and it is felt emotionally through the screen with brutal honesty and love.
In a series of interviews, videos, and commentary, Street Bullets takes the viewer through the factors that cause the children to leave their homes and how they cope on the streets. Mahmood does not leave out the deplorable conditions these children live in. She lets the children relate their own traumatic stories of hunger and disease and the constant physical, substance and sexual abuse they are exposed to as they struggle to get through each day without parental or government support.
Mahmood tells the story through various cinematographic elements and edits peppered all over the film. Right from the beginning of the film, the award-winning producer focuses the attention of the viewer to the bustling and colorful city of Karachi, with time-lapses of vehicles careening past busy highways and the culturally rich architectural skyline of the town before contrasting these beautiful images with the rotting, appalling and dreary conditions that the street children of Karachi live in. She couples these disturbing images with impeccable editing techniques and a moving soundtrack that arrests the viewer’s concern and helps transmit the direness of the situation more keenly.
The cinematography is meaningfully deep and truly captures our gut check on several levels; the camera lens frames in on the young children's legs as they sleep underneath a flea infested blanket, flies buzzing all around them, only to juxtapose it in the foreground with a brilliant, radiant fire, lit by the homeless.
Street Bullets is a documentary that has enlightened me on this social issue and one that has haunted me to join the cause. It will certainly move many viewers to tears and amplify calls for action from the relevant government authorities to take charge of the situation and help these lovely flowers get back to a humane, fulfilling and productive life.