Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Saturday, November 16, 2013

'This Is Our First Expereince Of Viewing Films In Theatre'

By Swati Reddy | Hyderabad

Wearing colourful caps and excited smiles, four children stood out amid the crowd of eager kids who came to watch films at the Prasad’s Imax theatre in Hyderabad, the main venue for the 18th International Children’s Film Festival. The wonder in their eyes was evident, because unlike most other children, the foursome from Himachal Pradesh was watching cinema on the big screen for the first time. 
From a government school in the remote Bankala village in Sirmour district of the hilly state, the four students – Ayushi (class 9), Deepthi and Mayank (class 8), and Rishab (class 7) – had accompanied their teacher Dr Sanjeev Atri. With no theatre in their region and visual entertainment confined to television,the long trip to Hyderabad to watch films to their heart’s content proved to be a dream come true for the kids. “We are happy that we have been given the privilege of attending the festival,” Ayushi and Deepthi chorused. 
    
This ‘privilege’, however, was hard-earned. Dr. Atri had conducted a test and quiz related to cinema among the students and the four children were then picked on merit. 
    
Dr. Atri’s association with the film festival began when he participated in the event for thefirsttimein 1995. Soimpressed was he that he approached the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) and borrowed three films to screen at the school where he wasteaching atthetime. 
    
Not only did Dr. Atri make it a habit to borrow films for screenings, he also made children’s movies on his own. He has made 16 films till date and for some, he even made the children participate by training them in story writing, scriptwriting andshooting. 
    
One of the documentaries made by him records a curious battle waged between two tribes in Himachal Pradesh. Made for the ministry of culture, the documentary narrates the story of the tribes, one of which pledges loyalty to the Kauravas and the other to Pandavas. Every year the two tribes, armed with bows and arrows, organize a fight which they call the thanda dance. “The rule is that the arrows can be aimed only at the legs,” Dr Atri told INN Live.
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