Fifteen-year-old Siddhant Joshi decided to deal with being bullied, by channelising his anger into making a film on the subject

A Class 10 student now, Siddhant Joshi has risen above his predicament — having been bullied by his school seniors in class six and seven, Siddhant fought back by making a film on the subject.

Breaking The Silence is a short film told from the point of view of a young boy whose parents are too busy for him. The protagonist who is bullied by neighbourhood boys, deals with his dilemma by looking up the Internet on how to fight them. He fails and almost attempts suicide.

Did Siddhant attempt suicide when he was bullied? “No!” he says in alarm. “I channelised my anger into making the film. It’s my past now and this (by making the film) is how I wanted to deal with it,” says Siddhant, who was in Bangalore to participate in the 9th Edition of Children’s India International Children’s Film Festival. “I started participating more actively in all interschool competitions. Now everyone listens to me and respects me,” he says with obvious pride.

His film City of Tears, which deals with problems of migrant labourers in Delhi, was to be screened at the festival. Unfortunately technical glitches meant that his earlier film Breaking… was screened instead. Siddhant was a composed cool cat through it all, asking the audience at the theatre on M.G. Road Boulevard if they were okay with seeing his earlier film.

A member of the audience asked him, after the screening, what he thinks is the solution to the problem of bullying. Siddhant is quick to answer: “All kids need three Ps — parents, principal/teachers, peer group. All three Ps should work together and that’s the solution. Every one needs someone to talk to. It’s the same with kids. Otherwise they will turn to the Internet for random solutions, like the child in the film,” says Siddhant. Siddhant admits later, though, that he was initially hesitant to talk to people around him about his own problem — he was dared by older boys to do things that harmed his self-respect, he says. Before making the film, he spoke to several children who had been bullied to understand what they feel and what goes on in their mind. The film won an award last year at Hyderabad at the 18 International Children’s Film Festival India.

“I want to make films on reality. We are all neglecting, or rather running away from real life. Bollywood films are only dhishum-dhishum…it’s not the real thing,” he declares, pretty peeved. Siddhant’s father is a filmmaker with NFDC, and he has worked as his father’s assistant on several films, learning filmmaking on the job. “I learnt camerawork, editing all on observation, and with information from the Internet. Thank god for CBSE, I don’t have board exams though I’m in 10. That’s why I am able to make films,” he grins. “But I usually work on them only during vacations.”