The world cinema has reached a point where every topic under the sun is being explored by the filmmakers. However, in Bollywood, every second filmmaker is either busy remaking an old classic film or mass entertainers. Our filmmakers have forgotten the fact that a large number of their audience comprise of children between the age of 3 to 16 years.
In recent time there hardly have been any films made to cater to this age group. Yesterday, the entire country celebrated Children’s Day but look what kind of films were scheduled to release this week- ‘Marjaavaan’ and ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor‘! Neither of these films are meant for children.
Earlier we used to have at least 1-2 films releasing in a year that revolved around children’s content. But off late even that has stopped. Parents are taking their kids to watch comedies or family entertainers like ‘Housefull 4‘, ‘Bala’ and ‘Gully Boy’. Now, these films might be great entertainers but they are not sensitive towards the children. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that these films are meant for a mature audience and not kids. Because while watching films like ‘Housefull 4’, how is one supposed to explain crass jokes like ‘Gender Ka Tender’ to one’s kid? Or if you go for ‘Bala’ then what will you tell your kid if they ask you why Bala (Ayushmann Khurrana) ill-treated Latika (Bhumi Pednekar)? Things like these are not easy to explain to a 5 -year-old child. If you don’t believe me then go and ask anyone who has children from the age group of 5-10 years.
You can literally count on your fingers the mainstream films that were specially made for the kids like ‘Makdee’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’, ‘I am Kalam’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘The Blue Umbrella’, ‘Bumm Bumm Bole’ to name a few. It’s really a sad state that Bollywood is not striving towards bringing any change in these statistics.
I agree in the last few years we saw films like ‘Dangal’, ‘Chhichhore’, ‘Super 30’ or the recently released ‘The Sky Is Pink’. Now, these are incredible films and there’s no doubt they performed very well at the box office too, but don’t you crave for films that have an old-world charm which you can watch with your toddler or 5-year-old kid? In 2017, Ranbir Kapoor’s musical mystery comedy adventure film ‘Jagga Jasoos’ was promoted as a film meant for kids, but in reality, it wasn’t actually kid sensitive film.
Production-wise, Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world with over 1000 films being produced every year. So isn’t it sad that mainstream filmmakers have altogether stopped making films for children? Despite being the largest film industry, it’s Hollywood that has constantly blessed the Indian screens with animated as well as feature films for kids. This year we had Hollywood films like ‘Angry Birds 2’, ‘Frozen 2’, and ‘Abominable’ hitting the Indian silver screens and only these films were able to diminish the paucity of content meant for kid’s consumption.
There is a notion amongst the filmmakers that making kids film is like venturing into high risks and none of them wants to invest their money in it. With the advent of digital media, parents prefer watching Hollywood flicks/series with their kids at home instead of taking them to a theatre to watch a Hindi film.
Movies appealing to kids should not be neglected the way it has been for decades. Animated films are another under-explored genre in our Industry. Children’s can contribute heavily in making a film a huge success, provided the content is that appealing. The sooner our filmmakers will understand this the better. Let’s wake up and smell the coffee before its too late. Hollywood films have been eating Bollywood filmmaker’s share of profit by efficiently catering to the children with their entertaining contents. How long will it take for Indian filmmakers to make a film on the lines of ‘The Jungle Book‘ or ‘The Adventures of Tintin’?
I think its high time that Bollywood starts making movies keeping the young audience in mind. Kids constitute a huge section of the audience and ignoring them blatantly will never yield good results.