Why not more movies for children

Sharif Nasrullah | Update:

.Not many films have been made for children after the country's liberation. And critics say it is due to indifference of parents about their children's mental growth.

They also attribute the situation to lack of quality scripts and the poor condition of the film industry.

Only one children's movie has been made, and that, too, on government grant, every year recently.

But during the 1980s and the 90s a number of famous children's films such as Emiler Goyenda Bahini by Badal Rahman, Chhutir Ghanta by Azizur Rahman, and Dipu Number 2 by Morshedul Islam were made.

Some other notable films were Etim O Masum by Sheikh Nazrul Islam, Purashkar by CB Zaman, Dumurer Ful by Subhas Dutta and Ramer Sumoti by Shahidul Amin.

Among these directors, only Morshedul Islam continued making films for children. After Dipu Number 2, he has made Duratto, Amar Bondhu Rashed and Ankhi O Tar Bondhura.

"Viewers do not show interest in such films these days. It's very disappointing. If this situation does not improve we have to quit the industry," said Morshedul Islam.

Impress Telefilm produced several films for children after the '90s. But no notable films have been made under the auspices of the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) during that time.

Bangladesh Film Directors' Association president Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar said the total number of commercial films has decreased. So, children's films are also on the decline.

"The film industry has now shifted to the digital format from the 35mm ones. This transition has affected the sector as well," he added.

In the past, the cultural affairs ministry in association with the Shilpakala Academy had provided government grants to produce films of this genre.

Rajputtur by Tokon Thakur and Madho by Sumona Siddiqui are two of such films made on government grants.

Bangladesh Shishu Academy once undertook a project that helped making a number of children's films such as Daanpite Chhele by Khan Ataur Rahman, Ranikhaaler Shanko by Sheikh Neyamat Ali, and Chhana and Muktijuddha by Badal Rahman.

But the project did not continue due to lack of fund. Later, another project was initiated in association with UNICEF in 2007. The aim of the project was to promote children's films and conduct different workshops for children.

Under this project, children themselves selected and learnt to make movies.

"Children in our country have less source of recreation. We need more quality films for them," said Rozina Akhter, the chief librarian of Bangladesh Shishu Academy.

The government has to patronise more children's films, she added.

There is also a lack of quality scripts. Shaheen Ara Begum, deputy secretary of information ministry, said, "The committee may reject any grant proposal if the script is not up to the mark."

The cinema hall owners hardly show any interest in screening such films while there are scarcity of efficient directors in the industry.

But still there is a little hope. The Shilpakala Academy organises film festivals across the country.

The Children's Film Society deserves special mention for arranging International Children's Film Festival every year. 

*The piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.

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