Posted on March 30, 2011


In Kavi, the film that won the 2009 Student Academy Award, the main theme seems to be social injustice and modern slavery. A young boy, Kavi, and his family spend their days laboring to make mud bricks, and all Kavi wants is to be able to go to school and play cricket with the other boys. His boss tauntingly calls Kavi his “hardest worker” and the boy believes it wholly, and strains himself for minimal rewards. Kavi’s family and dozens of other families seem to be indentured servants to the boss. Apparently, Kavi’s father owed some debt to the boss, but it seems as though his years of labor have not yet paid the debt.

The aspect of this movie that makes it so powerful is that it could be taking place anywhere. We can tell from the characters that it takes place in India, but in reality, slavery is still a huge issue all over the world. And while some of the scenes of this film are horrific (especially the abuse scenes and the part where Kavi is trying to escape from his handcuffs), it’s overall a story of hope. It’s a story about people helping their fellow man, about trying to end modern slavery and other injustices. Kavi shows us that there are still a lot of terrible people in the world, but there are even more people who are trying to bring these people to justice.

The narrative was quite good at connecting us with the characters. Within the first few moments of the film, Kavi immediately comes off as a sweet and caring boy who asks for very little. The handheld camera shots make the viewer feel like they are a part of the film, working and living with Kavi’s family. In the end, Kavi’s simple action of squishing the drying bricks with his feet give the film a real sense of closure, and it seems like justice had been served.

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