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."
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.
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
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
"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
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
Text & Photographs: Harikrishna