‘Goopi Gawaiiya Bagha Bajaiiya’ is an example of why we should experiment more with folk tales for children
The opening ceremony of the 18th International Children Film Festival in Hyderabad followed the screening of Goopi Gawaiiya Bagha Bajaiiya a film by Shilpa Ranade. Goopi Gawaiiya Bagha Bajaiiya The movie which has been doing the rounds of many international festivals is about singer Goopi and drummer Bagha. Shilpa’s debut feature is not an “animated version of Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gayne Bagha Bayne, though the skeleton belongs to the original”, she says and adds “and we have duly credited the original film as well.”
Ranade clarifies, “The movie originates in Gulzar’s translation of Upendrakishore Raychowdhuri’s book, for which I did the illustration. I started off with the drawings, and then I thought I could do something else to take it ahead, so I decided to do prints,” says Ranade, who teaches animation for the masters of design course at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B). “This led to another thought and I decided on making it into a film. It was another part of story telling which I felt was missing.”
The screenplay mostly sticks to the original with some tweaks. Ranade explains, “Goopi and Bagha meet in the forest after being banished from their respective kingdoms – both love the music they make, but their lack of talent and its resulting cacophony does not endear them to anyone. However, the king of the ghosts hears them, and, oddly enthralled by them, decides to grant them a number of boons: delicious food that appears when they clap for it; a pair of wonderful shoes that will transport them wherever they wish to go; a boon to be held in reserve for later; and, perhaps most important of all, their music will transfix and transport anyone who hears it and so on,” she smiles.
This is the first animated film of Ranade who until now had worked on short films. Now she sees a great platform in animation to introduce something new to children. “Children are flexible, they will see what they are offered. Good content will definitely introduce a new style of story telling and like a sponge they will take it all in,” says Ranade who took close to two years to finish the film.
Gulzar too says animation which comes from sketching cannot be detached from us. “Right from the cave sketches to the colourful clothes we wear, all of this is a part of animation. Goopi… is one movie which will delight everyone equally. I sat and watched it and enjoyed it. We make the society, so let’s give children what is good,’ he said.
As for Shilpa her struggle isn’t over, “After getting the film screened in festivals, we want to bring this film to regular theatres so that everyone can watch it,” says Shilpa.
The screenplay, script is written by her husband Soumitra Ranade, he is also the executive producer for the movie.