Kannada children's film Naanu Gandhi finds way to Chinese festival

NEW DELHI: Naanu Gandhi (I am Gandhi), a children’s film in Kannada, has been selected for the 10th China International Children’s Film Festival, to be held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, from 9 to 14 September.

The movie has already won international recognition for the manner in which it has used a unique contemporary story to keep alive the relevance for all ages of the message of Mahatma Gandhi.

Naanu Gandhi tells the story of a young child who is often made fun of by his fellow villagers because his name is Gandhi. He was named thus because his grandfather Rangappa had fought for the freedom of the country, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.

Produced by Kokila N Gowda, wife of Nanjunde Gowda, the film is based on a story by Dr Besagarhalli Ramanna and screenplay by Gowda himself. The music is by Raju Upendra Kumar. It stars Master Likhit in the title role along with Ramesh Bhatt, Sundar Raj, Pramila Joshai, Sadashiva Brahmavar, Mandya Ramesh, Raaga Ranga Nagaraj, Venkatachal, N.G.E.F. Sri Kantaiah, Mosale Manjunath, Master K S Sharath Kumar, Master Nandan Kumar, Master Shashank, Baby Nisha, Baby Soumya, Baby Sneha, Bharathi and others.

Directed by NR Nanjunde Gowda, Naanu Gandhi has won several accolades including the best film award for propagating educational values at the Columbia International film festival in Carthagena, the first for any children’s film from India, and has been shown successfully in film festivals in Italy (Giffoni), Tunisia (Sousse), and Canada (Toronto).

The film, which had a successful run in Karnataka late last year, has been made by a man who has for long been espousing the cause of children’s cinema. His Chukki Chandrama (star and Moon) was the inaugural film at the International Children’s Film Festival held at Thiruvananthapuram in 1991 where it won the Best Screenplay award. A film that made the adults think about the values they were inculcating in their children, it featured teenage children, narrating in a mature way the thin line between love and sex that they tread on.

He followed it up with A Aa I II (ABCD) that depicted both at the children‘s and adults’ level the inherent contradictions between globalisation and native culture and their impact on young minds. The film was a runaway success.

A a non-governmental organisation aimed at espousing the cause of children’s cinema set up by Gowda, Children’s India hosts an annual film festival in Bangalore, perhaps one of the very few niche festivals being organised by single NGOs anywhere in the world.

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