Children's movies, a disappearing genre in Indian cinema
New Delhi: Remember getting transported to a fantasy land with movies like "Jajantaram Mamantaram", "Karamati Coat" and "Chhota Chetan"?
Sadly, the whimsical world of children has vanished as Bollywood is now focusing more on real life and inspirational stories, say experts.
"Movies like 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' are more appreciated now. Schools also recommend to students to watch such kind of movies.
Parents also tend to take their kids to movies like these," Sanjay Ghai, chief operating officer, Mukta Arts, told IANS.
"Hum Tum" fame director Kunal Kohli tried to explore the realms of the genre with "Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic" in 2008. It had popular names like Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji, but couldn't create fireworks at the box office. He says failure stops filmmakers from making such movies.
"Sadly, we are not making children's films and the ones made aren't box office hits so the cycle continues of not making them. Hope the trend changes," said Kohli.
While there are less movies with wands and potions, films highlighting children's issues and problems are still made.
If "Taare Zameen Par" emphasised on academic pressure on children, "Stanley Ka Dabba" delved into the life of a child who works in a restaurant. And now, big names are also roped in to give a push to such films.
"Children's movies don't have a commercial angle. Hence, big stars are roped in to gain momentum in the market. For instance, 'Bhoothnath' was a children's movie, but it gained popularity because of Amitabh Bachchan," distributor Rajesh Thadani of Multimedia Combines told IANS.
The reason behind the lack of popularity, as Shravan Kumar, CEO of Children's Film Society India which organises National Children Film Festival, puts it is because "exhibitors are not very open to give space to any film which is not star-based".
"We need to facilitate the process where exhibitors understand that there is an audience for such a movie. We need to remove the disconnect between the distributors and exhibitors in bringing out the content," Kumar said.
"Unless we make it available through normal market mechanism which is the theatre, it will not attract attention as a value based product," he added. He also blames the distribution mechanism.
"Children movies are often small budget. Distribution is a costly exercise and many can't afford it," he said. Kumar is also in favour of using technology to promote the genre.
"It is not necessary that we go through the traditional medium. We have started putting our movies on YouTube and are in talks with some mobile platforms as well," Kumar said.