November 14, is independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary. Nehru was also called ‘Chacha’ Nehru, or ‘Uncle’ Nehru, for he was known to be very fond of children. And so, every year, his birthday, is celebrated as Children’s day. With this in mind, I want to post a series of articles on my blog involving children and cinema. The first of which is this. A little five minute documentary called ‘Bachhose Baatein’, where Nehru talks with children. My hindi isn’t that good, and I couldn’t really make out what he’s saying, but I guess he must be saying something about how children’s films are essentially different from movies for elder people. The description to the documentary confirms this – ‘In this short film he tells kids that the needs of children are special and hence special films need to be created for them.’
The real payoff for me from this short documentary is actually seeing Nehru speak and move, because although I’ve heard and read a lot about him, I never got to hear the man. So, this documentary really fills that need.
And accompanying this documentary are two short animated films.
The first one is ‘Ebegetiya’, which tells an Assamese folk tale. It is about Ebegetiya, a small but clever young man who fools the dumb king, and rids the land of this foolish king.
The other one is ‘Nokpokliba’, a folk tale again, but from Nagaland. This is about Nokpokliba, a mystic, who saves his villagers from a cunning merchant.
All the three movies are made by the Children’s Film Society of India, which was started by Nehru in 1955. Currently CFSI is headed by Amole Gupte, a filmmaker who is well known for children’s movies like ‘Stanley ka Dabba’ and ‘Hawaa Hawaai’, both of which he directed, and ‘Taare Zameen Par’, for which he was the screenwriter. ‘Stanley ka Dabba’ is a personal favorite, and so I’ve included the trailer for the movie here, while I haven’t yet seen the other two.