Fifty years after Satyajit Ray’s fantasy-adventure Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, an animated version of the classic titled GGBB: Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa directed by Shilpa Ranade is all set to hit the theatres on March 1 this year. Produced by the Children’s Film Society India (CFSI) in association with Karadi Tales, publishing house known for children’s books, GGBB has been nominated and awarded at many film festivals in India and abroad. The director, who is a well-known illustrator and designer, who has illustrated almost all the children books written by Gulzar, talks about her film, and a lot more.
How did you choose this film?
I grew up watching Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne and I had the opportunity to illustrate Gulzar’s retelling of the classic. It was then that I realised that the story would lend itself so beautifully to animation. The story, written by Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury is as relevant and inspiring today as it was when it was written over a hundred years ago.
How was it redoing a classic as an animation?
My team and I completely believed in this film, and each one gave their all. CFSI produced it, the animation team, Paperboat, the writers, musicians, the entire team has made the film what it is.
What has been your takeaway?
The most significant takeaway is the overwhelming response from children and adults alike, across different countries and cultures. The film has travelled far and wide, and that audiences have connected to the film so spontaneously is most gratifying.
Why do we fail to produce quality content for kids?
Creating content for children demands an investment in terms of conviction in the value of content specifically meant for children. Unless we feel invested with this sense of purpose, even though we have a phenomenally rich storytelling tradition spanning over thousand years, we would need to invest in the rigour of not merely creating content but in bringing it to the audience a manner that is far-reaching and meaningful.
What were the challenges?
Funding for creating content for children in our country is sparse. Moreover, what is needed is energies that will put their might behind the idea of creating and dissemination of truly enriching content.
What steps can be taken to produce more such content for children?
We need to introspect into why we don’t create content that is culturally and socially relevant to our children. We need to look beyond taking shortcuts and merely consuming whatever is made available from other parts of the world.
Your five favourite animation films?
Hedgehog in the Fog, The Owl Who Married A Goose, The Roadrunner Series, Dustkid and When The Day Breaks.