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‘Children have the right to watch good films’

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Star attraction: Actor Pooja Gandhi mobbed by schoolchildren for an autograph at the valedictory of the Sixth International Children’s Film Festival at Bal Bhavan in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Star attraction: Actor Pooja Gandhi mobbed by schoolchildren for an autograph at the valedictory of the Sixth International Children’s Film Festival at Bal Bhavan in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: Of the nearly thousand films made every year in the country, only 10 are devoted to children, a figure that has to change, said Sushovan Banerjee, CEO of the Children’s Film Society of India.

The dearth of child-oriented films means that they “are growing up on content and movies that are not meant for them,” Mr. Banerjee said at the valedictory of the Sixth International Children’s Film Festival here on Wednesday.

“Children are turning to unfiltered material on the Internet and on television channels. There is a need to make dedicated content for children. Despite such a big industry it is surprising that such little is being done for children.”

Actor Prakash Rai quite clearly a favourite with the children in the audience who greeted him with loud and repeated applause, said that children had the right to watch good films.

Besides museums and libraries, the Government should also make accessible movies from around the world, he said.

‘Useful tool’

Cinema could prove a useful tool in education, Shobha Karandlaje, MLA and former Minister, said.

“In rural areas in particular, films could become a medium to impart lessons in science and maths.”

She added that children should be encouraged to follow their dreams and not be coerced by their parents and mentors into being “doctors and engineers”. The State Government, which allocated Rs. 25 lakh annually for the production of children’s films, should increase this amount to encourage the genre, said N.R. Nanjude Gowda, president of Children’s India, a non-profit organisation that organised the film festival.

Actor Pooja Gandhi, who made a brief appearance, had the young audience erupt in noisy excitement and even indulged them by a singing a song from her popular film Mungaru Male. Films from 20 countries, including China and Tunisia, were screened at the week-long festival.

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