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New Delhi : Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA), on August 6, 2018, launched the official trailer, music and poster of Bollywood film “Halkaa” under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), in partnership with the New Delhi Municipal Council, here.

On this occasion, Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary-HUA, Naresh Kumar, Chairman, NDMC, V K Jindal, Joint Secretary and National Mission Director, SBM Urban, Nila Madhab Panda, Director of the film, Shankar Mahadevan –singer cum music director, child actor Pichku, lead actors Ranvir Shorey and Paoli Dam, and Roshni Nadar Malhotra of Shiv Nadar Foundation, the producer of the film were also present. The launch event was also attended by school children and teachers from government schools in Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, Puri pointed out that given the stated objective of the flagship programme of the Government of India, Swachh Bharat Mission, to achieve open defecation free status for all cities and towns by October 2, 2019, it is expected that the film can contribute to the aim of achieving an Open Defecation Free India and accelerate the pace of achieving the Swachh Bharat Mission’s targets through its powerful message.

“Halkaa” (Relief) is the story of an 8-year-old boy Pichku who aspires for a better quality of life. The film is a unique take on the child (Pichku)’s heroism: the boy refuses to be part of the age-old practice of open defecation and decides to make a change for his betterment. It is his dream to make a toilet of his own. “Halkaa” poignantly captures the journey of this simple and under -privileged child’s dedication, struggle, and aspiration for achieving the goal of owning a personal toilet for his family despite resistance from his father. In turn, he becomes a hero in his slum community, according to a PIB release.

Film director Nila Madhab Panda is a Padma Shri awardee whose earlier films include the highly-acclaimed “I Am Kalam”, “Jalpari-the desert Mermaid”, “Kaun Kitney Paani Mein” and ‘Kadvi Hawa’.

While Halkaa is slated for release on September 5, 2018, in India, the film has already won numerous awards and accolades in the international arena including two prestigious Grand Prix – Best Feature Film awards at Montreal International Children’s Film Festival and KINOLUB Film Festival for Children and Youth in Poland.

A highlight of the launch event included a live performance by Shankar Mahadevan of the film’s music track. The event was screened simultaneously through webcast across the country enabling school children from various states to view the live launch.

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