The Simbas just can't wait to be kings. It was time for the desanni palinche
bhavipourulu to voice their opinion, to celebrate and to get special attention.
The7th International Children's Film Festival, organized by Children's Film Society,
A.P., this year, was designed with a variety of programs, all of which aimed to
sensitize them to life through visual media like films, puppetry, animation and
special cinema meant for children.
Children in thousands representing different schools flocked towards the different venues, some delightfully watching special cinema, others actively participating in the open forum discussing the necessity of cinema, and the artistically inclined attended the workshops to know about the varied devices of animation and the art of puppetry. Under the able direction of CFS-AP Chairman M Veda Kumar, the whole festival saw a huge participation by both children and also interested adults.
The Animation Workshop at the Art Gallery of the Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Public Gardens, saw some veteran animators interacting with child artists who showed enthusiasm in narrative illustrations for animation, the art of arranging and overlapping pictures and many a technical detail, as also with other children who they encouraged to come up with their ideas for themes.
"Freedom to think and generate ideas is lacking in formal education, and the huge syllabus has become a burden for many school children," says veteran artist Surya Praksh who inaugurated the Animation Workshop. Well, talking of freedom of thought and expression for children, the Open Forums organized at the Hari Hara Kala Bhavan, saw them interacting with special invitees like film directors, scriptwriters, scholars and art historians.
And the Forum actually perturbed the invitees, as they found children developing confused attitudes towards life and forming hypocritical opinions on cinema. "It is not the attitude of children, it is the set up that is to be blamed, for they are brought up by parents who induce them with typical notions on life and on the value for material and verbose expressions," commented M C Mohan, Art Historian.
"See, we are spending money to watch a film, so we should get information, or something out of it - what is the point if one doesn't understand the high silent language or a film of a different language, or the traditional phrases like in the film 'Ramayana' for children," says a Xth St. student Vennela.
M S Reddy, veteran poet and producer of 'Ramayanam', expressed his sadness, since more and more children do not use their own mother tongue, thanks to the shifting of today's families to a Westernized culture. They complain of not understanding a simple 'padyam'. "Children are already burdened with an exhaustive educational package, and should not expect films to be like a mode of the Internet or documentary projects, or develop a selfish attitude to 'gain' out of a film, since it is a medium to be felt," agreed almost all the speakers. Yet, some kids in a different role made demands like good films reaching out to street children, and condemned sex and violence in commercial cinema.
For all the utopian demands on themes, language and translations, and many a question regarding children films, none of the kids seemed to understand the very fabric of cinema. "Take cinema as a simple visual medium, and with an open mind try to react to the visual than bother about understanding a language, since good cinema is basically meant to sensitize you to life and nature," concluded Pratima Sagar, Art Critic.
And so were the films selected - in a broader frame, in different languages, and screened at different venues during the festival. From a Japanese Children film ("Your Chose") to the Telugu commercials "Sisindri" and "Little Soldiers", to the mythological "Bala Ramayanam", the festival included a series of disparate films, including "Santa Claus", "The Lost Emperor" and the animation "Tom and Jerry", apart from poignant films like "Mini" (Malayalam), "Damu" (Bengali) and "Mosali" (Telugu).
The children who participated in the Puppetry Workshop at the Puppet Resource Center, the Andhra Mahila Sabha Compound, seemed to understand the value of the visual and the performance, and were more sensitized towards simple life and themes. The process of making colorful puppets and masks with different materials and making them act itself enthused these receptive children.
On the whole, the active participation can be commended in this festival organized by the Andhra Pradesh State Film, Television and Theater Development Corporation in collaboration with Department of Education and Culture, the Jawahar Bala Bhavan and the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad.