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CFSI and Children's Cinema in India

Kuldeep Sinha

Children's films which have a tremendous influence on the minds of children, should be encouraged by all like thinking persons.-- - Jawaharlal Nehru   Those are unforgettable days, still and fresh in my mind, when I, with my fellow students, waited for the periodical screening of a children’s film in the school auditorium. It used to be fun watching the film unfold on the small screen with the 16mm projector making its usual whirring sound. Cinema was virtually the only form of entertainment available to students in those days and it was an educational responsibility for the school authorities to procure ‘good’ and ‘purposeful’ children’s films.   Several films were made by the Children’s Film Society of India and some private producers. The pleasure experienced while viewing such feature films like Jagruti, Netaji, Raja Harishchandra, Alladin, etc., still lingers in ones memory. Not many such films were being produced commercially as they were not very viable financially.   It was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, who envisaged providing healthy entertainment for children soon after Independence. The Children’s Film Society of India was established in 1955 to provide children with value-based entertainment. The mission of the CFSI is to facilitate the promotion of children’s films by encouraging, strengthening and spreading the children’s film movement, by exposing children to films made in our country and by other countries, thereby combining education along with entertainment.   The avowed objective of the CFSI is to organize, produce, distribute and exhibit feature films and short films for children; to provide them healthy and wholesome entertainment, and seek to enhance their knowledge, develop their character, broaden their perspective and help shape them into useful citizens of modern India. Today CFSI's activities span the entire gamut of filmmaking and allied fields right from production, acquisition, screening to organizing workshops and festivals.   CFSI organized a 'Golden Jubilee Film Festival' in Delhi from the 14th to 18th November, 2006, commemorating its 50th Anniversary, to coincide with ‘Children's Day’ celebrations – a day that also happens to be the birth anniversary of ‘Chacha’ Jawaharlal Nehru.   In the fifty years since its inception CFSI has produced several memorable films such as Aaj Ka Robinhood (Tapan Sinha), Ankur, Maina aur Kabutar( Madan Bavaria ), Bal Shivaji (Prabhakar Pendharkar ), Dak Ghar (Zul Vellani), Nani Ma (Parvati Menon), Muzhse Dosti Karoge (Gopi Desai), Raju Aur Gangaram ( Izra Mir ) and Karuna Ki ...

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