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When it comes to content, lately the industry has been churning some great thought-provoking and interesting dramas and short films. See Prime’s latest short film, House No. 242 starring Hira Tareen is an example of one intelligently produced narrative that leaves a powerful impact. It is a story addressing child sexual abuse that needed to be told, seen and heard.

Protecting children from abuse is a crucial yet neglected reality all around the world. The number of unreported cases is far greater than the ones reported and oftentimes, it is the parents who play the role of sweeping issues under the rug because they feel that it is for the child’s own betterment. However, child sexual abuse is a painful traumatic family secret that has rippling effects upon the entire family, especially the child.

“Every fiction has its base on fact,” reads the official description of the short film on YouTube.

The short film features an expecting couple; Hira Tareen as Meerab and Saad Qureshi as her husband Asher. The opening scene introduced us to Meerab, who is jogging in the park late at night, when her husband calls her and asks her to head back home. The conversation between the two reveals that she’s pregnant and her husband thinks it will be a girl.

On her way home, she meets a little girl named Mano (Angel)  holding her doll and sobbing on the bench. Meerab goes to her and comforts her but Mano says adults cannot be friends with little kids.

Meerab, however, takes her home and starts meeting this little girl more often. Hira’s character is usually seen with Mano’s doll making her husband worried by her strange behaviour.

The story later reveals that it was Meraab interacting with her childhood self. She was abused as a child by one of her mother’s (Annie Zaidi) cousin and since then she has lived in constant fear. The mother is guilty of the same crime most parents are; she asked her to stay quiet while the abuser lived a free life.

The short concludes by highlighting a very important message; the need to listen and support your children when they open up to you.

It is crucial to empower victims and ensure a safe space for our children. “We will never leave her side. And when we have to, we will teach her to fight,” says Asher as the film ends, putting forward the message of children’s safety and protection.

House No. 242 is a Mohsin Talat film starring Hira Tareen, Saad Qureshi, Annie Zaidi and child star, Angel.

Watch the short film here: