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Mouth of Hell — Samir Mehanovic, 2014

Anant is a young boy living in one of the most dangerous places on earth who must negotiate various terrors to survive each day, including scavenging for coal so he can support his sick mother. When he finds a purse full of money one day, he is faced with a difficult choice…

Anant is the face of a real-life humanitarian disaster facing the children of India in this devastating BAFTA-nominated short.

Classroom Activities

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  • What do you think about the title of this film? Can you tell anything about what the film might be about?
  • Watch up to 00:33 secs. What sort of setting do we see at the very opening of the film?
  • Watch up to 01:47. What film techniques do the filmmakers create an extremely dangerous environment for Anant? (lighting, mise-en-scene, camera, music) How do we feel as an audience watching this? Do you think children should be in this sort of situation?
  • Watch up to 03:13. How do the filmmakers emphasise the challenges Anant has to face every day?
  • In the scene between Anant and his mother (04:06 – 05:39) how does the camera convey the close relationship between them? What impact does this scene have on the audience?
  • Why did Anant take the wallet to the police station? (Think about the dialogue in the previous scene.)
  • Stop at 07:15. What do you think is going to happen?
  • As Anant is talking to the woman in her car, what point of view is the camera shooting from? Why do you think this is?
  • Pause at 09:06. What does this establishing shot remind the audience of?
  • Anant is walking home with the woman whose wallet he found. The questions she asks are for the audience’s benefit. What do we find out about this place?
  • Watch to 09:37. How does the sound create an atmosphere as they walk to Anant’s home?
  • Anant’s mother explains what has happened to her, a very sad story. How is this sadness emphasised by the lighting and camera?
  • The ending of this film is extremely powerful. Explain how the filmmakers have achieved this by using camera, lighting and music.


  • The Jharia region of India, where the film is set, is its coal mining centre. Watch this short film about the hellish situation in this area. Take notes as you watch. Sum up the problems and dangers associated with this coal field in particular, and coal fields in general.
  • In our country, children working is illegal and has been for such a long time that no-one questions this practice. However, in many developing regions of the world, it is common (despite laws against it) for children to be working in extremely dangerous manual jobs. What do you think can be done about this? Is there anything we can do about it?
  • Healthcare is not available to Anant’s mother, which is why she dies. In the UK, we have the NHS which is free to everyone even if they have no money to pay for treatment. Why is free healthcare such an important thing?
  • At the end of the film, we see a funeral ritual for Anant’s mother. How is this different to what you have seen/experienced/know of in your own culture? Are there any similarities with your community’s religious and/or cultural traditions?



  • Write a letter to local and national government representatives about the dangers faced by children like Anant.
  • Write a short story imagining what could have happened if Anant hadn’t taken the wallet to the police station.


  • Draw a comic strip of the opening 3 and a half minutes of the film (up until he has to make decision about the wallet).


  • Research alternative and affordable fuel sources suitable for use in India. Design a poster advertising these as a safer, more environmentally friendly way of powering the nation.


  • Research the Jharia region of India. Create an information leaflet with information on population, geography, industry, education and pollution.

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