Nov 14, 2011

"Half Ticket" - my article on some children's films in India

I have always felt that making films, writing stories, or composing songs for children is harder than many other creative endeavours. Think children's films and the Disney boilerplate animations is what comes to most people's mind, until Pixar tore that notion apart. Unfortunately, the genre of children's films in India has been criminally under-served so far. But a few have stood out.

I wrote an article two years ago on Children's Films in India, and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting some of these films. Today's a good day to point you to that:

1. Previous blog post with a scanned copy of the article (has images): at this link.

2. Plain text version:

11 comments:

Nikhil said...

Similar thoughts have crossed my mind at times, about literature for children. My childhood was spent reading CBT, NBT books apart from the usual Ruskin Bonds, R.K Narayan and the likes. The fact that I do not even remember the names of these writers reflect how under-celebrated they are.

One thing I terribly miss are the children magazines, Target being the favorite.

Given an opportunity I would love to give back what I learnt. Don't know if there are any initiatives where one can contribute.

But then, do kids read these days?

Ramanand said...

Target was a one-off - haven't seen anything as good since.

Don't be so pessimistic :) kids do read. The school quizzers I meet show evidence of that, and my friend runs a book rental service, with an emphasis on children's books.

You're right in pointing out that the CBT authors etc. are anonymous. Perhaps there needs to be a children's sahitya akademi or kids' booker prize to put some of that marketing magic in this field.

bevivek said...

I think most parents soon learn the knack of story creation and narration. What fascinates is how easily children take to magic. Demons, ghosts, people with strange powers, hippos that talk, monkeys that can become big as a mountain ...

A recent trend is the explosion of animated films for desi kids - chota bheem, bal hanuman, krishna balram, often our mythology repackaged into modern garb.

Ramanand said...

Desi animation is finally at the point where the quality of the medium is not so mediocre; I see it as a natural evolution of the ACK days: text -> comic -> animation.

Arkus Caesar said...

Target !! .. wow that evokes memories.. also, Misha and Tinkle and of course ACK. Add to that a whole host of Indrajaals , DC and Marvel and we're discussing stuff that my dream summer vacations were made of.. but to make a relevant point I think India is slowly realizing the importance of good Children's entertainment case in point are the mentioned animated series like Chhota Bheem and Bal Hanuman and of course quite recently, Ra.One - though arguably it's a dud but its an expensive one and for all it's worth it is children focused (or so I thought when I saw it)

Ramanand said...

Arka: the problem is that makers of films like Ra.One try to please everyone, so you have kid-friendly elements and adult-friendly corny jokes in one, in a misguided attempt to pander to the entire family (you can also see this trend in Shrek etc.).

Anand said...

Nicely written, JR.

What I think I miss is the pleasure of reading, even a Harry Potter fan does not seem to love his stuff as they appeared to. Perhaps.

Target, sure. Unmatched in tone, content & maturity.

Actually, I don't quite agree with JR about many listed being children's films at all. eg. Iranian cinema,Boot Polish..

The other thing is the sheer rigour & tautness of the reading habit has been undermined by "business" applications of language, much to the chagrin if purists.It's not as valued as,say,spoken language or verbal affectations.

Ramanand said...

Thanks Anand.

About "Boot Polish" et al., I'd still consider them children's films, and that's not only because there are central child characters in them. But because the film themes should make sense to children watching as well. But many of these, esp. the good ones, have what is classified as 'parental guidance' elements. Take Blue Umbrella or Masoom. It's easy to tag them as children's films as there are so many child-friendly elements to them. But the darker, adult-sides to them are not necessarily out of reach. Of course, a "child" could be from ages 2 to 15, so...

snehal said...

Nicely written. Was wondering if you missed Bumm Bumm Bole (Priyadarshan, 2010) by accident? Its an Indian remake of Children Of Heaven.

snehal said...

Oops - invalid previous comment - missed the '..article 2 years ago..' bit!

Ramanand said...

Snehal: even if I wrote it today, I might not include BBB - I hear it's not a very good remake. Plus, the article wasn't quite a comprehensive survey, so you may find quite a few films missing.

That said, thanks for reading!