19-year-old, Advijit Halder has come a long way from Calcutta’s red light district. At the age of 11, Advijit was one of eight children profiled in the film, “Born Into Brothels,” an Academy Award-winning documentary about the children of prostitutes in India. Today he is a freshmen studying film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
In Calcutta, Advijit struggled with a drug-addicted father and a mother who worked as a prostitute. He watched many of his friends fall into the traps of the red-light district and feared he would face the same fate. "There is nothing called 'hope' in my future," he says in the film.
Photograph from Kids with Cameras
With the help of the films producers, Advijit learned how to take pictures and quickly developed a love of photography. Kids with Cameras, the foundation associated with the film, paid for him to attend school in America.
In an interview with the New York Sun today, Advijit talks about attending NYU. "It's the only school I wanted to go to," he said. For his family, "The big thing for them is being a doctor or an engineer — something before your name," he said. "But somehow inside me there was a little bit of art."
So far, Mr. Advijit says he couldn't be happier: "It's so free. This is what I wanted."
The children of "Born Into Brothels." Photograph from Kids with Cameras