Academic Master


How Do Filmmakers Persuade Audiences?


Filmmakers always want to get high attention from the audience. Two types of audiences are present in society; one is the active audience, which is the audience that responds to interpreting the media text in different ways and actively engages with its message. Another one is a passive audience, and this audience does not engage with the message but is instead more affected by the messages contained within the text. In order to make an audience believe the representation of an issue, filmmakers live the problem they are representing. They experience the feelings of one who was already suffering that particular issue. Filmmakers, in order to represent an issue, create everything that will look so real that the audience will believe that this issue is happening around that part.

Born In Brothel

Born in Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids is a 2004 Indian American movie written and directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski. Briski is a documentary photographer. She went to Calcutta to photograph the prostitutes. While there, she got friends with the prostitute’s children and taught them the basics of photography. She gave cameras to children so that their lives could become easier and they could earn money by using a camera. The photographs of the children depicted life in the Red Light district (Born into Brothels, 2004). Briski went on and provided the children with the basic need for education, although most of the children that entered int the schools got out few of them stayed there and continued their study. One of those particular students was Avijit, who had a gift from God. Later on, other children were interviewed by the local television reporters at Oxford Bookstore in Calcutta.

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a British movie directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Christian Colson, and written by Simon Beaufoy in 2008. This movie was set and filmed in India. It is a loose adaptation of an Indian novel Q&A, whose author was Vikas Swarup. The movie tells a story about a young boy, Jamal Ahmed, who is 18 years old and enters the biggest reality competition show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” an Indian version where he answers every question correctly but is accused of cheating (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008). Jamal recounts his history, illustrating how he answered every question.


The theme of Born into Brothels gives an insider’s look at the world of the Red Light district and the harsh reality of living outside the law. The theme of this documentary is closer to the feelings and emotions of humans than the theme of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Though the casting of the movie Slumdog Millionaire is more extensive than that of Born into Brothels, Education is the basic necessity of life, which is why I believe that Born into Brothels is more representative than Slumdog Millionaire. The use of contrasting visuals and emotionally appealing scenes indicates that this documentary was intended to be directed toward the public, to move them, to demand them to work for the betterment of these innocent children. The use of these emotions is lacking in Slumdog Millionaire.

Looking at the setting of both movies, the setting of Slumdog Millionaire gives a high edge over Born into Brothels as India’s most prominent slums are present in Mumbai, so the director urged himself to shoot the movie in that area so that the audience will get a more precise look at the day-to-day life in slums. As far as the documentary Born into Brothels is concerned, Zana Briski chose the location quite well, but the clarity of scenes coming out from Slumdog is way better than Born into Brothels.

The plot of Born into Brothels gives one clearer image of the movie than the plot of Slumdog Millionaire. The reason behind it is Zana’s skills that she utilized in making that documentary. She took real-life photographs and provided the public with a clear image.


In conclusion, the children in “ Born into Brothels” are only a small group of persons affected by human trafficking and prostitution. This movie is better than Slumdog Millionaire as it demonstrates not only the transformative power of art but also hopes that through continuous determination and persistence, change is possible.


Born into Brothels. (2004). [DVD] Directed by Z. Briski and R. Kauffman. Hollywood: THINKFilm.

Slumdog Millionaire. (2008). [DVD] Directed by D. Boyle and C. Colson. India: Celador Films Film4.



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