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Dreaming small

One does think of the cause,but no,I had no experience in this field though I have worked with children in the past...

Written by DIPTI NAGPAUL D’SOUZA |
November 4, 2009 12:03:03 am

Actress and filmmaker Nandita Das on her new role as chairperson of Children’s Films Society

Were you involved at any level with children’s films before you were invited to chair the Children’s Film Society?
One does think of the cause,but no,I had no experience in this field though I have worked with children in the past. So it came as a huge surprise when the committee approached me when Nafisa Ali resigned to work in politics. In fact,I was quite torn between this coveted position and starting work on my next film. But then I realised that it does offer a chance to create alternatives at a time when we complain about the lack of quality entertainment for kids and the expansion of television and reality shows.

What personal touch do you intend to add to bring about the change?
The focus is to promote and encourage filmmakers as well as their films. But before we get to that,we have 300 films lying in the bank that need to cleared. To do that is the primary aim. Then it is important to bring about systematic changes that extend beyond the individual so as to ensure that they reach the audiences not only in the metros but also at district level. We plan to work out school and college tie-ups,start libraries and film clubs,and rope in talented,known filmmakers,distributors and producers.

Filmmakers like Vishal Bharadwaj and Anurag Kashyap are making children’s films. Yet the genre refuses to pick up.
Why just children’s films — you pick up any movie that is away from the mainstream cinema and you will see reluctance among producers and distributors to back the project.

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But multiplexes do cater to off-beat films these days.
Multiplexes are an expensive affair and hence limited to the upper middle-class audience. India has billions of children and these films need to reach them. We need to start at district level and think out of the box.

How do you think the children’s jury will help at the Festival,which kicks off on Children’s Day in Hyderabad?
I consider it equally important to have children’s perspective on the movies we screen; otherwise we might not be able to reach out to them. The objective is not only to have them critique the films but also encourage them to participate in open discussions and forums. Through this edition of the festival we also aim to connect with media and filmmaking students to encourage them to make children’s films.

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