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Childrens' Film Club

Teaming up for flicks Ever wondered how a Superman manages to fly in the air? And how a ghost manages to vanish into thin air "just like that"? How does a slow motion happen? These and many more such questions crossed our young minds when we watched films as kids. And what's a flicker? What is mixing? Why is a motion picture shot at 24 frames per second? More questions. Luckily for Kids in Pune, they know just where to turn for answers. The Childrens Film Club is where they head for answers to everything they wanted to know about films. Sachin Kundalkar and Madhura Deo-Dahanukar started this club with a view to provide exposure of quality films to children between 8 and 15 years of age. Sachin says, "People in general think that films are a waste of time and have a bad influence on children. But I think we can change those negative labels attached to films by actively encouraging children to look at films as a combination of art and science. So we went to many schools and also met many parents to convince them about the value of films in education."

Sachin discussing after a film screening The idea of starting the club came to Sachin and Madhura while they were conducting a small workshop on films in the school Aksharnandan sometime back. Madhura recalls, "We felt that this once-a-year exposure to films during the workshop was not enough. To kindle more than a passing interest, the kids need to develop the habit of watching good films made all around the world in different languages." Sachin who is also pursuing his course at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune adds, "There is something special about watching a film in the atmosphere of the National Film Archives Auditorium. I am sure kids will remember this experience for a lifetime." After each screening, Sachin and Madhura help in initiating and moderating discussion sessions. Each member is encouraged to maintain a diary to record opinions and thoughts on films. Lots of behind the screen information is also given to the members in print so that they can preserve it in their files. The choice of films and other guidance is provided by members on the governing body like Suresh Chhabria, Professor at FTII, filmmakers Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar with a lot of support from Veena Deo and Vijay Deo.

Questions. Questions.Dr Bachal, ex-principal of the Fergusson College, who comes regularly to pick up his grandchildren after the screenings is all praise for this forum for children. "This is a wonderful idea and a great learning experience for children. My Grand children enjoy these sessions very much."

"We couSachin showing flicker to the childrenld see the enthusiasm of the kids after screening films like the wildlife adventure Hatari, Sant Tukaram and the Czech film Jumping over the puddles again, Disney masterpiece Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We hope to follow up with many more path breaking and classic films." Sachin and Madhura bubble in unison. Their excitement is clearly seen among the children after screenings. "I liked the film Sant Tukaram because it looked realistic. Also, there is no dancing around the trees and I liked the message in the film. I find Bollywood films very unreal", says Tanmay Paranjpe, all of eight years, earnestly.

The team planning ahead "I believe showing the children good films at this age is like creating a groomed future audience for good cinema. I want to take children to watch shootings or recording sessions. I also want filmmakers to come down and talk to them about their films." says Sachin about the future of the club activities. "We will also be working with some NGOs to conduct mobile theatre sessions in the communities they work in, so that films wont be regarded as an elite activity" chips in Madhura.
Sounds exciting? So, you want to know how a Superman flies?

Contact: Sachin Kundalkar,
Lady Ramabai Hall,
S.P.College,Tilak Road, Pune
Phone: 446 0773 / 447 6774

Annual membership fees: Rs 500/-
All films will be screened at the National Film Archives Auditorium.

Text & Photographs: Harikrishna


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