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Updated: February 3, 2014 12:34 IST

Paving a green path for children

Madhur Tankha
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Film-maker Manika Sharma.
The Hindu Film-maker Manika Sharma.

After six years of writing and scouting for producers in Bollywood, director Manika Sharma has now finally managed to complete her dream project on increasing environmental consciousness.

Kalpvriksh seeks to create awareness on the significance of trees in an entertaining manner. Starring noted actor Shabana Azmi, the film symbolises the grace of nature among children.

Though Manika had penned a lucid script inspired by an ancient Indian myth about a wishing tree, there were no takers in the film fraternity. “Finally, independent film-maker Raajaysh Chetwal read a bit of my script and immediately okayed the project. We have had documentaries but only a person with a passion for environment would risk making a film on the subject. But at the end of the day, it is a commercial film which uses the language of fantasy, colour and music to create a magical adventure. The objective is to make children aware that they need to become responsible adults who do not degrade the environment.”

After Raajaysh had taken up the responsibility of financing the ambitious project, the next challenge for Manika was to rope in actors. Luckily, she got the best in the business who without batting an eyelid nodded to her request.

“I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan. But since this was a different project, I showed him a bit of the film and he agreed to give a voiceover. Similarly, veteran actor Shabana Azmi also gave her acquiescence. She is epitomising the spirit of the forest.”

Noting that she once had a mystical experience with a tree, the film-maker said: “From then on, I was curious to know which are the oldest trees in the world. I spent a year researching about trees and discovered in the process that Bristlecone Pine Tree in California is over 5,000 years old. When a tree is that old, it would have surpassed every human who has lived on this planet. In this film, I have taken sub-human issues. Since childhood, I was of the firm opinion that trees have a different perspective. Like humans, there have divergent characteristics. They are overpowering, sad, vibrant and bursting with energy.”

Manika’s film’s trailer was screened at the CMS Vatavaran, Environment and Wildlife Film Festival at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts here over the weekend.

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