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Children and Tamil cinema

IndiaGlitz [Friday, November 14, 2008]
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There is a place called Neverland - filled with children amidst innocence and laughter. A boy named Peter Pan lived in it. Peter Pan had a boon....he would never grow on to be an adult. He would forever be a child.

Though the above narration is taken straight out of a famous fairytale, the medium of Cinema despite generations passing on into oblivion always retains a similar vigor to that of Peter Pan. It retains the spirit of an age, an era that showcases events as they were on the day it all happened. A very young boy in the late fifties sang an ode to God Murugan in a film that went on to become very famous. The boy himself had become a grown man and generations have seen him mature playing a plethora of roles. But then the young boy with that innocent demeanor has not been forgotten. The magic of childhood has been retained. Kamal Haasan today has even played ten roles in a film, but then, even this extravagance does not have the potential to overshadow his first presence on the silver screen. This is what we can call MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD on the silver screen.

Kutty Padmini, Sridevi, Shalini, Simbu, Meena, Shamili, Tarun, Geethu Mohandas, Anju, Sridevi Vijayakumar, Kaveri, Sakthi, Shantanoo, Poornitha (Kalyani) and Monica have all grown up to don roles as heroes and heroines. Their real-age stint with childhood has been like passing clouds only to be overwhelmed by age. But then they will always live as children in the movies they have acted in when they were little. This is itself is a perfect ode to childhood.

The intensity of all the heroine-roles that Meena has acted out is no patch on the shot that showed her screaming 'Rajini Uncle' and running to him with the splendor of innocence. Such is the magic children have on the movies. Unfortunately though, there are not many filmmakers who delve into the beauty of childhood. An alarming sign indeed for the Tamil film industry.

As far as Tamil Cinema is concerned children are a neglected lot and are forced to watch films made for general multitudes. Films like 'Taare Zammen Par' will have to be on the rise. That way, children can understand more about themselves and build a broad perspective on life as a whole.

Having said this, due respect must be given to some filmmakers who have indeed made good films on children and for children like Mani Ratnam. His 'Anjali' infested with naughty children right through, depicted life in an urbane society that came to terms with a 'special' child. The beautifully narrated story had a father and mother desperate to accept and love their third child, who does not seem to react like normal children.

Mani Ratnam's 'Kannathil Muthammital' though made for general audiences included children as it's target audience too, making most kids think about the importance of their parents and the identity they pass on to them.

A song in 'Raja Chinna Roja' catered to the needs of children with animated animals in a forest. Rajinikanth with his inimitable style danced around conveying appropriate morals to the children.

Movies such as Mazhalai Pattalam, Kuzhanthayum Theivamum, Indira, My Dear Kuttichathan', Shanthinilayam, Azhagan, En Bommukutti Ammavukku and Poove Poochudava have heart warming anecdotes celebrating childhood at their best.

In a world that is moving on at a brisk pace, there is no time to stop and stare at beautiful things in life. The hectic pace is also hurrying children to live lives that are alien to them. All the more necessary that children are given due importance in cinema.

Before one knows it, the golden gates of childhood close behind us forever. So why waste opportunities to make good childrens' films for every single generation.

ARE THE FILMMAKERS LISTENING?? ....or are they thinking employing children as actors could imprison them on charges of Child labor'.

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