Indian sex trafficking film is 'a story that needs to be told'

Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:57am EDT
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By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tabrez Noorani, a producer on the Academy Award-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire", will direct a movie on sex trafficking after first encountering victims of the trade in Los Angeles more than 10 years ago.

"Love Sonia", which starts filming next week, will feature actress Freida Pinto, who starred in "Slumdog Millionaire", with newcomer Mrunal Thakur in the lead role.

"This is a movie that found me," Noorani told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Mumbai, where he is scouting for locations. "It's a story that needs to be told, to show the plight of these girls, what they go through."

Noorani, whose production credits also include "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", "Life of Pi" and "Eat, Pray, Love", said his introduction to human trafficking was in Los Angeles in 2003, when some girls were found in a container shipped from China. One of the victims was a young Indian girl, he said.

The incident inspired Noorani to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on trafficking in Los Angeles, as well as groups in India and Hong Kong. He has participated in several raids of brothels, he said.

He then spent years working on the screenplay. The film, which marks Noorani's directorial debut, tells the story of Sonia, a young Indian village girl who gets trapped in the global sex trade industry.

Securing investors was a challenge, he said.

"It took a long time. There aren't many people who want to put money into something like this," he said.   Continued...

Cast member Freida Pinto poses at the LA premiere of the film "Knight of Cups" in Los Angeles, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok