Regional Filmmakers Are Investing A Lot Of Thought In Children's Cinema” Says Mahesh Danannavar

 - Sakshi Post

The 'Gandhi & Co’ producer notes that regional films for children are more thematically rich and varied

Producer Mahesh Danannavar's Gujarati film for children, 'Gandhi & Co.' recently won top honours at the prestigious Zlin Film Festival in Czech Republic and has been gathering fans and accolades across the world. He says, "Regional filmmakers are making an effort to create children's cinema that is thematically richer and more diverse. Take the Tamil hit 'Kaaka Muttai' or the Kannada industry's latest 100 crores hit '777 Charlie' which can qualify as a children's film as its titular character is an adorable labrador. The film is now the fourth highest-grossing Kannada film of all time. This shows that an honestly made film will not just appeal to kids but to all age groups."

In 2017, the media consulting firm Ormax media reported that the contribution of children’s cinema to the Indian box office is less than 0.2% but this, Mahesh thinks, can change if film-makers start addressing the dearth of good content meant for children and cites the example of 'Gandhi & Co' which is a story about strong human values and has resonated with both children and adults.

Children's films in Hindi have however been sporadic. One of the earliest Hindi films  made for children was 'Jagriti' (1954) and then in 1956, the Children's Film Society produced its first film, 'Jaldeep.'  Since then there have been well-made offerings like Charandas Chor (1975), Rani Aur Lalpari (1975), Safed Haathi (1977), Kitaab (1977), Jajantaram Mamantaram (2003), The Blue Umbrella (2005), Taare Zameen Par (2007), I Am Kalam (2010), Chillar Party (2011), Stanley Ka Dabba (2011) and Dhanak (2016).  

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But as Mahesh says, "Regional filmmakers have traditionally invested a lot more thought in children's cinema. Bengali films for instance have a legacy of well-told children's stories. Who can forget Satyajit Ray classics like, 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne', 'Hirak Rajar Deshe' and 'Sonar Kella'! Down South, Malayalam cinema has given us a landmark hit like 'My Dear Kuttichathan', which was India's first 3-D film and when dubbed and re-released in 1997 as 'Chhota Chetan,' it became a huge success once again."

In recent times, he adds, there have been  Marathi films like 'Balak-Palak'  and 'Killa' which have done well, and just this week, Amol Gole’s Marathi film 'Sumi' won the Best Children’s Film Award at the 68th National Film Awards. He concludes, "Children are our future change-makers and a powerful medium like cinema should not be ignoring their entertainment needs."

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