18 January 2013
Children are the stars in Salman Khan's Chillar Party
After many early attempts by Bollywood to make films that were meant for young audiences, we are now seeing the genre coming into its own with successful films such as Stanley Ka Dabba, The Blue Umbrella, Chillar Party, and most recently Gattu.
Earlier this year Gattu won the Special Mention Award at the Berlin Film Festival as well as the Audience Award and Honourable Mention Award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).
A charming coming of age tale, Gattu is the first film to be produced by the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI). By immersing the audience into a children's fantasy world, we see the story through the central protagonist, Gattu's eyes, whose sole ambition is to fly his kite and conquer the skies. The film is filled with the wondrous imagination of children and provides a poignant insight into child poverty.
Nandita Das, Chairperson of the CFSI said: 'We are delighted with the double win, especially the Audience Award. That is the true test of any film. An endearing story, when well told, will surely connect with everyone, whether you are six or sixty.'
There has also recently been a host of animated Hindi films which have developed a strong fan following in India including My Friend Ganesha, Hanuman, Ghatothkach.
Alongside this, Bollywood stars have themselves delved into the genre including Kajol and Ajay Devgn's home production Raju Chacha, and more recently Toonpur Ka Superhero which took inspiration from popular Indian comic Lot Pot. Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par and teen drama Udaan are other popular examples.
Salman Khan co-produced the hit flick Chillar Party about a gang of feisty kids who are kings of their colony until they are threatened by a new kid on the block, Fatka, and his pet dog, Bhidu. After a turf war battle, Fatka becomes a part of the clan, only to have Bhidu's residence in the colony threatened by a local politician who aims to enforce legislation against stray dogs in the area.
Amitabh Bachchan co-produced Paa, about a young boy, Auro, who suffers from a genetic disease which causes him to age prematurely. Abhishek Bachchan plays Amol Atre, a young politician on a mission to prove that everyone in his profession isn't corrupt and ends up discovering a personal connection with Auro.
Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji teamed up twice for Ta Ra Rum Pum and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. The former focuses on a family's economic struggle testing their loyalty and perseverance, while the latter entertainer highlights a group of orphaned children who find the perfect Mary Poppins-like nanny.
And even Shah Rukh Khan has professed to making Ra.One for the younger generation in a bid to engage them with Bollywood and prevent them from turning to Hollywood for cinematic entertainment.
There is a general consensus within the industry that better and more age appropriate films need to be made for the growing population of youngsters in India. With this in mind, the efforts of writers and directors are producing some of the best children's films to ever come out of the Hindi film industry, which are also being recognised as world class cinema.
Image courtesy UTV Motion Pictures