Ironically only two Telugu films find place in Children's Film Festival

Its very name conjures up the image of a solitary village – one in which a bullock-cart ride is a luxury for villagers who have, for decades, been travelling by foot. The ‘Bell Cart', Gantala Bandi, is then their only means of transport, communication and survival.

Portraying how a bunch of determined children redeem the village of its brutal realities, Gantala Bandi, is one of the only two Telugu films to be screened at the 17th International Children's Film Festival, here on Friday.

Only two Telugu films

Despite being the hosting ground for inspirational children's films from across the globe, there is a dearth of quality children's films in Telugu .

“While cinema as a medium has the power unlike none other to influence children, it is disheartening that there are barely any children's films, especially in Telugu,” said actor Rajendra Prasad, speaking at the event.

Even as there are only two regional language films at the festival, Gantala Bandi, despite its rich content, is not being screened at Shilpakala Vedika, the prime venue for the event with international delegates as its audience.

Set in a village called Narayanapuram, sans a single hospital within 40 kilometres of its vicinity, the movie lays bare the truths of innumerable villages in the country. A ‘bell cart' orGantala Bandi, which carries the patient to the neighbouring town, is the sole resort for villagers. A patient's fate alone determines if his or her survival through the arduous journey to a nearby hospital.

“Showing how children can make a world of difference by not accepting inefficiencies, ours is a non-commercial, low-budget movie, made with only Rs. 25 lakh.

Movies with budget of at least Rs. 1 crore are of high quality and have a better appeal on the eye. They are screened for international delegates at the Vedika screen. Despite having content, that is where we lose out on,” said T. Rukmini Krishna, director of the film.

Selected in the non-competitive ‘World Children Category', ‘Gantala Bandi' will be screened at Prasad's Imax on Friday at 3 pm. Music for this film has been composed by K.M.Radhakrishnan, screenplay and dialogues have written by Subbu Eeranki; and it has been produced by Machiraju Sai Prasad.