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Film Review: Bittu
by Karen Pecota

BITTU ****

Student Academy Award Winner

Indian filmmaker Karishma Dev Dube writes and directs a narrative based on true-to-life events of a well-known school poisoning in BITTU. Filmed in the foothills of the Himalayas, Karishma wins a student Academy Award for her storytelling.

Born and raised in New Delhi, Karishma came to the United States to attend the Graduate Film Program at NYU where she received the Dean's Fellowship. Notably her first film DEVI premiered at BFI London Film Festival before playing in 56 international film festivals and acquired a Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film win.


As childhood friendships experience good and bad days, so it is with the relationship with Bittu and her closest best friend. This one particular day Bittu was simply incorrigible. She refused to do anything right by her teachers or classmates. Bittu's best friend could not even console her.

Bittu's bad behavior on this day will forever be an imprint on her memory. She will never forget. Bittu's bad behavior had nothing to do with the series of events that later transpired; but, she will never be able to rectify the unexpected loss of so many she dearly loved. You may have heard about this tragedy from 2013, in the international news.

An accidental poisoning occurred in a primary school in India where Bittu attended. Twenty+ students died and several more succumbed to an accidental poisoning. Bittu miraculously escaped the poisoning because, in her obstinacy, she refused to have lunch that day.

Karishma details the events in her narrative BITTU to explain the ease it is to make horrific and heart-wrenching mistakes when the job of feeding young children with a limited supply of kitchen utensils, running water, inadequate kitchen space to prepare food in large quantities nor the lack of appropriate help necessary to produce quality service.