Remember the intense climax scene from Rang De Basanti where Karan (Siddharth Narayan), in the middle of a shootout at a radio station, goes live and tells the listeners, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, use behtar banana padta hai (No country is perfect, we have to be made better)”?

As the Lok Sabha elections loom around the corner, that scene unfolds in my mind when I look at Dasra India’s Adolescents, A National Priority, a short film that is a part of #AbMeriBaari, a community initiative that aims to inspire India’s first-time voters to make their votes count.

An impactful 10-minute film, Adolescents traces the lives of two youngsters – Annu (Krutika Deo) and Sameer (Deepak Simwal). The film begins, almost symbolically, in a Republic Day programme in a school, where the principal encourages the children – all dressed up as national icons – to study well and grow up to become the citizens of tomorrow.

It’s almost all our childhoods put into one scene, isn’t it? Hearing our elders tell us that we were the desh ka bhavishya (the future of the country)?

Listening to it all, very intently, are little Rani Laxmibai and little Jawaharlal Nehru, aka Annu and Sameer. The two friends, also living in the same colony, then share a huge grin as they exchange lollipops and wishes on what is also their birthday.

Cut to eight years forward, and they are now 18. Things are very different from the outside – Annu’s parents, now relatively well to do, are celebrating her birthday in a restaurant. Whereas Sameer is out looking for a job that would help him bear the costs of his ailing father, now bedridden. From the inside though, things are not as different as they seem to be. Annu is very good in studies, but her parents won’t let her go to the university as their savings are kept for her future marriage. Sameer wants to study but can’t, because his family can’t afford his education with his father’s medical bills now burdening them further.

The situations presented in the film by director Mozez Singh are very relevant, even in today’s India. More often than not, poverty, lack of healthcare and funding facilities result in a child losing out on higher education. And that’s not even half the problems that exist in the society we live in.

But how is that supposed to change? How are these growing teenagers, these adolescents expected to change their lives for the better?

At several instances, we have seen the let go mentality creep in when the voting period comes. “Ek vote se kya hoga (What difference will one vote make)”, after all? Annu and Sameer have the same problem. But then they figure it out. And so do we.

At a time when the elections are surrounded by ad campaigns that scream competition and propaganda, this comes as a breath of fresh air as it promotes nothing but the importance of the choice to vote. The natural acting by the two leads and the relatable setup only adds to the well-intended project. It’s all about a simple thing, really – make your choice to enable the change you want to see for yourself. Read up, see who can serve your needs in your situation the best and take a step towards the hope of a better tomorrow.

Because… Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, use behtar banana padta hai. And that’s exactly why every choice, every vote makes a difference.

Watch the movie here:


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