Atanu Ghosh-Filmmaker-Children’s Films
Atanu Ghosh, the renowned film director from Kolkata, shares with Calcutta Tube his thoughts on children’s films. Atanu’s debut movie “Angshumaner Chhobi” will be releasing in Kolkata very soon. We wish Atanuda all the best for his forthcoming movies.
Calcutta Tube: You have made the film ‘Aar Ek Bampi‘ for the children, and it brought you the National award in return. Have you made any other children’s films or are you currently working on one?
Atanu Ghosh: I have made the television series ‘Ichchhe Dana‘ for Doordarshan, which was for the kids. I wish to make a science fiction film for the younger people in future. Right now, I do not have any concrete plans, but I am sure I will definitely work on it.
Listen to the Exclusive Interview with Filmmaker and Script Writer Atanu Ghosh Online
Calcutta Tube: How much of initiatives are put into making children’s films? Or how often does the film industry think of making films targeted mostly to the kids?
Atanu Ghosh: The inevitable question that arises nowadays is regarding the definition of children. Who would you call a kid? With the advent of internet and all other technologies, kids are growing so fast these days. I have seen young people of 12 – 13 years watching grown-up serious programs. Things are different nowadays from the way they were when we were kids. We used to go to the movie halls during our times to watch the children’s films. But now the children are mostly considered to be the ones below 10 – 11 years. So when we make children’s films we are limited mostly to the audience in the age group ranging from 6 to 10 years. Once they are more than 10 or 11 years old, they watch thrillers and other films that have grown-up elements. Since the range has got smaller, it is difficult to get producers, and the directors, too, have to think about the consequences of making children’s films.
Also, the release dates of the children’s films are very important. They have to release when the kids are on vacation or have no exams ‘round the corner.
Calcutta Tube: …………..We have such a great treasury of children’s literature. And the grown-ups too enjoy the children’s films.
Atanu Ghosh: Definitely, the grown-ups enjoy the children’s films. But there is not much effort being made for making children’s films for various reasons. It is very unfortunate that even an organization like the Children’s Film Society is not much successful in that sense. In the Children’s Film Festival we get children’s films from every country, even the ones with lesser facilities of film making. Even countries like Iran, where they do not get to make films abundantly, contribute in children’s films.
Calcutta Tube: Talking of Iran reminds me of the film ‘Children Of Heaven’, though I am not sure if it was from Iran. But it is amazing that someone can make an adventure out of such a simple story.
Atanu Ghosh: ‘Children Of Heaven‘ was by Majid Majidi. Children have often played very dominant roles in other films by Majid Majidi.
But in our films, we do not very often get to see children these days. Satyajit Ray used a lot of children in many of his films and he handled kids amazingly. For example, in the films Shakha-Proshakha, Agontuk, the kids acted in some very important roles.
Calcutta Tube: I think if the kids get to see some good films made especially for them, they will grow up into better audience of the next generation.
Atanu Ghosh: Definitely. The more exposure they get to cinema and cinematic language, the more they grow as the audience. We do not have a lot of film appreciation in India, and we just learn to take anything that is presented to us. That is the reason that the Bengali film industry has been subjected to a lot criticism for the past 15 – 20 years. We have accommodated ourselves to the formulae used in the Bengali films for the last two decades because our senses towards films are not very matured. If the kids get to see better films since childhood, they can come out of this ‘getting used to’ whatever is being handed down to them, and develop their own sensitivities.
I cannot recall any film being made in the past few years for the children. We do not see any continuous effort for making good children’s films like Damu (Raja Sen), PataalGhor. The film makers should come with more initiatives.
Calcutta Tube: How difficult it is to get a producer when you want to make a children’s film?
Atanu Ghosh: The first problem as I have already said is the release date. We also doubt the commercial success of a film if the stars remain in the background and the children in the foreground. The huge production cost is also matter of concern.
Calcutta Tube: Has the global recession affected the Bengali film industry?
Atanu Ghosh: It sure has. For the past few months so many productions have stopped, especially the corporate ones.
Interview by: Shrabanti Basu, CT Reporter, USA