Bengaluru

Today there is no such thing as children’s film: Jaya Bacchan

Jaya Bachchan chaired a seminar on 'Childrens' Cinema' . Photo : Bhagya Prakash K

Jaya Bachchan chaired a seminar on 'Childrens' Cinema' . Photo : Bhagya Prakash K  

The actor-turned-politician bats for more intelligent content for gadget-driven generation.

Having been a pro-active chairperson of the Children's Film Society, India, for over six years, and being a grandmother herself, actor Jaya Bachchan couldn't have reiterated more that today's children grow up too soon, their minds develop rapidly, because they are exposed to too much too early, and not necessarily in the right direction.

She was chairing a seminar on 'Childrens' Cinema' at the 8th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes), and began by stressing how the terminology was all wrong. "Today children are watching everything that adults are watching on the Internet. After they turn 10, their minds are like yours and mine. So there's nothing like children's films today. You can call it cinema made for children." She suggested that children be split into two categories by age -- one to six, and six to 10 to designate a viewership. Taking the example of her four-year-old granddaughter, she said "She watches such intelligent and entertaining matter, not what we still have to offer our children. My older teenaged grandchildren tell me 'We can't believe naani, you're so techno illiterate'!"

While she admitted she doesn't watch TV, she recalled how earlier programmes like the BBC's Teletubbies children's series was far more interesting, even for adults. "It's a pity we are losing out to Western culture...We have so much literature of our own. We don't make the writing for these films for children interesting enough. We have Amar Chitra Katha. Look at the folk tales and puppetry in your State. Technology has to be added to it to make it interesting for kids today. When I was Chairperson of the CFSI, we made films in two to four lakh, then I increased it to eight. But if you're competing with the world, this budget is not enough," she said.



Jaya loses her cool... Yet again!

Actor Jaya Bachchan, known for losing her cool easily, wasn't any different at the BIFFes festival. First it was photojournalists she got upset with, saying they were disturbing her and not following protocol. And then again in the media interaction, when asked why none of the Bollywood actors who were complaining about the current controversy in FTII were mobilising themselves to petition the government, she retorted with a “Why are you telling me to do what you should be doing? Don't get aggressive with me; I can be aggressive with you too!"

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The more than hour-long seminar, and following Q&A with participants and media, also had Jaya Bachchan talking about other issues as well... Here are some highlights:

Remarks I made yesterday about government 'interference' at the BIFFes inaugural... I was talking about censorship and so many things that are going on. I was also upset over what happened at my alma mater, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), that classes have been shut down for months now... I think we are a bit too tolerant as a nation.

A government's duty is to govern, not entertain. A government can encourage, give incentive, but if filmmakers are passionate why go to the government with a begging bowl? It's unfair and that's expecting too much from the government. Your State gives you a tax-free policy, which is fantastic!

Bengaluru missed being the hotspot for children's film fests in the country... Jaya Bachchan also mentioned how "it is so unfortunate, it breaks my heart that Bengaluru was supposed to be the centre for children's film festivals. the Government even gave land, but for some reason they just didn't start building it".

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:02:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/Today-there-is-no-such-thing-as-children%E2%80%99s-film-Jaya-Bacchan/article14028651.ece

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