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A filmmaker meets innocence in Hyderabad

Clipping (48kbs) - The Hindu, 18/11/1997. By Gautaman Bhaskaran

Record Number : A0080789

Click to browse by keyword: Cinema Film Exhibition Freedom of Expression Filmographies/Film Listings

 

A filmmaker meets innocence in Hyderabad

By Gautaman Bhaskaran
HYDERABAD, NOV 17.

One of the beauties of childhood is innocence. But sometimes children lose this quality much before they become adults. Happily, the Hyderabad’s young have not, feels Mr. Kit Hood, a Canadian Director, whose Dancing on the Moon is a competing entry in the International Film Festival for Children and Young People, now on to its fourth day here.

Why does Mr. Hood feel this way? He says teenagers especially in his country have become so cynical that they have almost lost their innocence. ‘One reason for this could be rigid parental guidance that forbids them to walk alone on the streets. Elders are always telling their sons and daughters not to talk to strangers. The fear has been the creation of newspapers and television. A single kidnapping or molestation is enough to trigger a country-wide panic.”

However, in Hyderabad, boys and girls are so warm and positive that it is a great relief to meet and mingle with them. They are outgoing. The are not afraid of talking to strangers. In fact, when this correspondent went about asking them about their preferences — from among the movies they have watched — they were bold with their answers.

Although many of them seemed to have liked Little Soldiers (directed by Ganga Raju Gunnam in Kannada), this competition entry tells a morbid tale of greed and avarice. A happy family is ruined when a scheming relative has the parents murdered. It is one of the most revolting sights that this correspondent has seen. Some of the children felt the same, and wondered why Little Soldiers could not have been made with a little more sensitivity. Also, the film's song-and- dance routine is so artificial and stretched that Mr. Gunnam would probably end up projecting the wrong message.

There has been another offensive entry in the Festival, which incidentally was sent for the Indian Panorama slot in the International Film Festival of India, to be held in January. It was not chosen by the jury. Vadiraj ‘s The Other Face, also in Kannada, purports to call itself a children's movie. It begins with a murder, and meanders through the most absurd situations that one can ever imagine. What is even more disturbing in it are the obscene dialogues. It is unfortunate that directors seem to feel that by placing a few young characters in a picture, they would get the automatic right to call it cinema for the young. But that is not the truth.

In comparison, a couple of works from abroad stand out in treatment and quality. Dancing on the Moon, for instance, has a very positive approach to life. Here is an aunt who teaches her little niece, still clinging to the comfort of her toys and childhood, that it is great to grow up, and that one must never, never give up a chance to dance on the moon if such an opportunity were to knock on one’s door.

Chris Bould’s My Friend Joe is a fascinating story of a circus girl, who despite the raw deal she gets from her trainer, befriends a boy and teaches him the joy of a smile. At the auditorium where this German film was screened today, hildren had an enjoyable time. Ten-year-old Vidyut found My Friend Joe moving, more so because the little girl decides to stay back at the circus, after the trainer was taken away by the police. The circus is my home, she says.

Even the work from Bangladesh, Dipu Number Two, despite poor craftsmanship, sets one’s spirits soaring. The bad boy in the class is not so bad after all; he has a heart and is, all said and done, human. And the good boy in the class, in spite of being bullied by the other guy, has this marvellous capacity to restrain his anger. The director. Morshedul Islam, presents several other situations with feeling, and there is never a false note. True to the milieu, Dipu Number Two could have been shorter, and one did notice restlessness among the boys and girls.

Although, the Festival has attracted tens of children, there is little doubt that they have not been adequately prepared for an international event of this magnitude. Most of them are brought inside the auditoriums well after a film has begun, and in all probability, they have not even been told what the movie is going to be all About. Apparently, Festival films come in from a variety of countries, in a variety of languages, representing a variety of cultures. It would certainly be unfair to expect boys and girls to appreciate what they see in such circumstances. A direct fallout of this is that they tend to get distracted and noisy.
More important than all this, is the fact that schools, which are in charge of “filling up an auditorium”, appear to have given no thought. to the age of their students. In the West, some of he movies are certainly not for under-tens. But at Hyderabad, who cares about these things?

 

     

     

     

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