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Engaging young minds: Children’s films at 13th Habitat Film Festival

The recently concluded festival in New Delhi hostes three children's films — Assamese film Ishu, Malayalam film Swanam and Bengali film Rainbow Jelly.

Simran Narula

The recently concluded 13th Habitat Film Festival (HFF) was held in New Delhi from 17 to 27 May 2018. The festival opened its doors to film fanatics with the screening of Kaushik Ganguly's Bengali film Drishtikone.

In addition to screening regional feature films and documentaries, the festival also screened three films for children, which received a wonderful response from the young audience.

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The first of these screened was Utpal Borpujari’s Assamese film Ishu, which won the National Award for Best Assamese Feature Film 2017. The film narrates the tale of Ishu, who lives in a remote, tribal village in Assam and leads a carefree life with his friends, Bhalu his pet puppy, and his favourite aunt Ambika. But one day, when the village quack declares Ambika to be a witch and Ishu's world comes crashing down.

The film was enjoyed by children and adults alike and the screening was followed by an interactive session with the director. Borpujaria took the audience through the process of training the child actors for the film. Seven-year-old Srishti, eight-year-old Amisha Sarkar and 10-year-old Tanisha were amongst the numerous children in the audience who enjoyed the film thoroughly.

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The second children’s film to be screened at the festival was the Malayalam film Swanam, directed by Deepesh T. The film explores an emotional journey through the minds of children, where a visually-challenged boy motivates his lazy classmate to work hard and succeed in life.

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Rainbow Jelly, the third film for children at the festival, had the director Soukarya Ghosal and the producer in attendance. He discussed his journey in the making of Rainbow Jelly and shared how it was working with the protagonist of the film, Mahabrata Basu who suffers from septicaemia in real life.

Chandrubhuti, a 13-year-old was amongst several people in the audience who enjoyed the film and said, “I absolutely adored the movie Rainbow Jelly, I cannot thank the film festival enough for giving me the opportunity to watch such great movies in my own language.”

The Habitat Film Festival left the younger audience craving for more regional films. Festivals such as this present an easily accessible opportunity to expose children to cinema that not only entertains, but also engages.

Related topics

Habitat Film Festival