Remember the last time you went to a theatre to watch a children’s film? Or even caught one on your television screens? Koimoi.com editor Komal Nahta explains why the children’s film movement is yet to take off in India.
1) While deciding which film to watch, Indian parents generally don’t go by their kids’ preferences. The family, as a whole, still prefers watching masala films.
2) Because of the above, the box-office performance of children’s films in India has generally been so poor that financiers, filmmakers and corporate houses are wary of backing such cinema. Moreover, the Children’s Film Society (India), a government organization aimed at nurturing the children’s film culture, has also not produced any commercially viable feature films for a long time.
3) Children’s films are being made in India but they are few and far between. An occasional Makdee (2002), The Blue Umbrella (2005) or Stanley Ka Dabba do not really make a children’s film movement.
4) The Indian audience feels that children’s films should be free (or the ticket should be subsidised, at least). Bottom line: nobody wants to spend money on this genre.
5) Unlike children’s films in Hollywood, which have strong characters (and brands), Bollywood has been unable to develop memorable indigenous characters as popular as their Hollywood counterparts. This is in striking contrast with the fact that kids’ characters in films have generally evoked a great response. For example, in Masoom (1983), a film meant for the families, the characters of the child actors, Urmila Matonkdar, Jugal Hansraj and Aradhana, were very much appreciated by the audience. However, so far, this magic remains to be recreated in films meant for children.