Children are the toughest audiences to please and the best of critics, said Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, while poet and filmmaker Gulzar said it was time children were given as much as they needed to be, in the form of good and clean, message-oriented entertainment.

That was how the press conference started off, a couple of hours before the kick-off of the 18th International Children’s Film Festival of India (ICFFI) here on Thursday.

Mr. Ranbir Kapoor said while children were the most difficult of audiences to satisfy, they were also the best for a filmmaker, pointing out that as a producer he was on a project titled Jagga Jasoos on the Picture Shuru Productions banner, directed by Anurag Basu.

Gulzar’s take

“It revolves a lot around children and I also play an 18-year-old in the film,” he informed. Mr. Gulzar said concerns of children needed to be addressed better than they were being done now.

“There are gaps and we need to fill them with positive entertainment. As far as such festivals go, they also have to be taken to different locations to spread their reach across the length and breadth of the country,” he said.

The ace director recalled that among his best moments working with children were those that he experienced, during the making of films such as Parichay and Masoom.

Replying to a question, the Barfi star said among his first recollections of films he watched as a child were Amar Akbar Anthony and Mr. India when he was a few years older.

“The best way to bring out their curiosity is to engage them in discussions through more platforms like festivals and give them what they want, treating them as equals,” he added.

Festival Director and CEO Shravan Kumar said that as far as Hyderabad was concerned, it was the ICFFI’s 10th edition.

It came with the promise of far superior entertainment in quality of projection compared to earlier editions, he said, adding that of the 200-odd films, there were 27 from South America.

Special needs

The focus this time was on children with special needs, he said. While there were two theatres earmarked for them, the festival had three films for them - one each from China and Scandinavia and another from the USA, especially on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).

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