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The Story of Simpletons

The latest adaption by Shilpa Ranade does justice to the beloved story of two commoners in search of the most basic need, and in the process leave adults and children enthralled.

by Boski Gupta

Fifty years ago when filmmaker Satyajit Ray had released his most ambitious and discerning film ever, he wouldn’t have dreamt that its message would trend on the then-unfathomable social media with the hashtag #SayNoToWar, and would reflect the political and social situation of two neighbouring countries. Because that’s what Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa is all about. Based on the short story Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne written by Upendra Kishore Roychowdhury more than a century ago, the story continues to resonate with each time period in which it is adapted — be it a movie, play or just a simple narration in a small room. And the latest adaption by Shilpa Ranade too does justice to the beloved story of two commoners in search of the most basic need.

The story itself is simple and revolves around two tone deaf affable characters. Goopi from Amloki is a singer who can’t sing and Bagha from village Hortuki is a drummer who has no clue of rhythm. But they are passionate about their music, and hence torment their neighbours day in and day out with their migraine-inducing tones. The fed-up villagers throw them out of their respective villages. The two meet in a jungle where their song and dance is liked by the ghost king and he gives them four wishes. The simple guys only have simple wishes. They just want their talent to be appreciated, their tummies to be full and want to see the world. They head to the state of Shundi which is getting ready for war with its neighbouring country Hundi. Though the two nations are ruled by twin brothers, there is much hatred and malice, thanks to the evil minister in Hundi’s palace.

Goopi and Bagha help the brothers understand the futility of war and freedom of speech.

On the surface, it’s just another animation film with a message of love and peace but deep down the story has layers of meaning in juxtaposition with the current political environment of our country. Goopi and Bagha become heroes of the unfought war, and rightly so. Their message is clear… bas ek hi kranti ho… har taraf aman aur shanti ho.

Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa (GGBB) was rightly promoted as the first animated movie for adults because just like Toy Story and Wall E, this film too adheres to the sensibilities of all age groups. The effects and animation are of high quality and the character presentation is similar to Ranade’s illustrated book The World of Goopi and Bagha. I especially liked the use of colours with dark background. The depiction of ghosts and their dances has to be the high point of animation in this film. The music too is good but the real winner are the words. Soumitra Ranade and Rohit Gohlowt have kept the narration simple, yet powerful. Every song, every dialogue has meaning, but not without fun. Don’t let your children watch this film alone, go along with them. It’s worth it.

If you have missed Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa in theatres, worry not. Now you can book an exclusive show of the film. Drop a mail to contact@karaditales.com to know more.

Keep That Spark Alive

Animated adventure film Wonder Park deals with a sensitive issue with a lot of sensibility.

by Boski Gupta

In a society where different means weird and special means a disability, it’s difficult to keep a spark alive. When innovation and creativity are frowned upon, the confidence to continue a passion weakens but we need to trust our instincts and go on without letting the stereotype world shackle us. Wonder Park asks us not to give up our hope, to keep our fire burning and let the spark ignite.

This animated film by Dylan Brown follows the journey of vivacious June Bailey (voiced by Brianna Denski), whose childhood is spent in creating a mini amusement park called Wonderland in her house with unique rides and interesting characters. Encouraged by her mother (voiced by Jennifer Garner), June spends hours creating a delightful theme park. But as tragedy strikes the family, June suppresses her vivid sense of imagination, goes into depression and wraps up her dream of creating the Wonder Land.

Writers Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec and Robert Gordon have raised a very sensitive topic about children nobody cares to discuss. We all expect kids to be happy, go-lucky, jovial beings without realising that they as much affected by their environment as adults are. They get sad, and sometimes their refusal to accept and share sadness changes their demeanour. Even children get depressed. And adults need to understand this behaviour changes in their little ones. Wonder Park delves into the psychology of depressed kids without as much calling it depression. And that’s the strength of the movie.

June is shown having mood tantrums, loss of appetite, disinterest in her favourite games and subjects… she’s even trying to emulate the adults of her family to cope up with the emptiness of her life. But nothing succeeds. It’s when she discovers her fears, accepts them and agrees to fight her demons then she realises what she had been doing wrong the whole time.

The message is clear. Keep your spark alive. Never let go of your imagination and creativity. And it’s easy to say but in real life where every step is a competition, following one’s heart is difficult. When life is a constant struggle between survival and passion, the choices are few. And that’s where children lose their innocence, their imagination. June rediscovers herself through her imagination but not children are fortunate like her. She had a solid support system in her friend and family. Unfortunately, families today fail to realise that their child may be depressed. Instead of forcing our children to compete with a neighbour’s child why can’t we let them build their own castles? It’s only when a mind is free, the souls can fly.

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