Children’s Day Special: 10 Films To Watch With Your Kids Today
Bhubaneswar: While the rest of the world celebrates children’s day on November 20, it is celebrated on November 14 in India to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (or Chacha Nehru, as he was affectionately called by children). It is a tribute to his endeavour towards building an India that took lessons from the past and looked ahead by training young bright minds in various disciplines and inculcating in them values about how to lead a good life.
With that in mind, we have curated the following list of films targeted at a young audience:
Two (1954): Two was director Satyajit Ray’s lesser known debut film with a runtime of only 12 minutes. It has just two characters: two little boys from two different classes who communicate through the window of the rich kid’s house through sling shots and gestures. In a matter of just a few minutes, Ray moves the viewer to tears by portraying the sheer power of childhood innocence in the face of social divisions.
Pather Panchali (1955): This has to be Ray’s most famous and beautiful film. Adapted from Bibhutibhusan Bandopadhya’s novel by the same name, Pather Panchali stands the test of time. The cinematography by the virtuoso, Subrat Mitra – a long-time collaborator with Ray – is resplendent. Like most films by the director, Pather Panchali has a cast of non-actors. The film is proof that works of art centred on children need not be bereft of depth.
Goopey Jyne Bagha Byne (1969): Like Nehru, Tagore, and other great minds who envisioned an India with young people who think for themselves, Satyajit Ray’s passion for a wholesome education starting from childhood is evident in the projects he took up. This film is no exception. It is a fantasy film aimed at children about two characters who strike up a friendship and embark on an adventure after being banished from their respective villages. Based on a novel by Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, who happens to be the director’s grandfather, Goopey Jyne Bagha Byne is a Bengali classic and constitutes the first part of the trilogy about the lead duo.
Masoom (1983): Masoom is Shekhar Kapoor’s directorial debut. It is adapted from the novel Man, Women, and Child by Eric Segal. Masoom stars actor Jugal Hansraj as the main character. Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah are wonderful in playing out their respective roles as a married couple who have to come to terms with the changes that transpire upon the arrival of a new member in the family.
Anjali (1990): Anjali is a Tamil film about a small girl struggling with a mental illness. It is directed by Mani Ratnam and stars Revathi and Raghuvaran.
Rockford (1999): The movie by National Award-winning director Nagesh Kukunoor chronicles the arrival of a (Hindu) student to a strict all-boys Christian boarding school in India and his assimilation into the school. Packed as a coming-of-age tale, it one of the most telling products of its time, as far as the student-teacher relationship is concerned.
Makdi (2002): It is a horror film for children directed and written by Vishal Bharadwaj. It revolves around a pair of twin sisters who are strikingly different in terms of personality but very similar at heart.
Iqbal (2005): The movie stars Shreyas Talpade and Shewta Prasad as siblings who are on a mission to get Talpade’s character, Iqbal, selected for the Indian national cricket team. It is a coming-of-age story about childhood dreams, resilience, and sibling love.
Taare Zameen Par (2007): Produced and directed by Aamir Khan, the movie is about an eight-year-old who excels in art but is terrible in studies and how an unconventional art teacher help the imaginative student discover his true identity. Along with educating parents on dyslexia, Taare Zameen Par makes for an enjoyable and inspirational watch.
Stanley ka Dabba (2011): Director Amole Gupte (writer of Taare Zameen Par) leads you once again into the classroom with this heart-touching tale about a schoolteacher, who forces children to share their food with him, forbids one from entering the school until he brings his own lunch-box.