What happens when you get too excited about something and then just go blank. Your thoughts just refuse to get organised in that over-excited state.
Well that’s what happened to me. Since my last post I have been thinking- “Anounce toh kar diya Children’s Films Festival, magar ab shuru kahan se karun” (I announced the Children’s Films Festival, but where do I begin). So many movies to choose from. Each one has a different message and has something to tell, and they are not told from the view point of adults. At the same time each one of us can pick up something from them.
After much deliberation and scratching of head I finally zeroed in on this one:
The main reason for choosing Rhino (1987) is that I got first hand reviews from the target audience. My 5-year-old niece has watched it 3 times and still wants watch it (so do I). My other niece, about 10 years old has also seen it a couple of times and still enjoys it.
The other main reason is that it is based on a CBT publication. So, it kind of fulfills the two-fold objective as pointed in my last post. This is the book in question:
ABOUT THE MOIVE:
This 1987 CFSI production is, as I said, based on a book named “Kaziranga Trail” by Arup Kumar Dutta. This book won the first prize in the international competition conducted by CBT in 1978 as well as Shankar’s Award in 1979. It is acclaimed as a classic in children’s literature.
The film has been directed by Shashank Shankar who had earlier worked as assistant director with Hrishikesh Mukherjee in movies like Khubsoorat (1980), Golmaal (1979) and others.
The main characters Jonti, Bulbul & Dhanai are played by the following:
Of these you might be able to recognise Prashant Bhatt since he appeared in many tele-serials later on.
The film begins in a small village of Assam. A group of men is waiting in the night for something. Elsewhere people are gathered celebrating with dance and music. This music and rhythm of drums along with the men in wait stirs up our excitement and thrill.
Suddenly the men hear a sound. Abandoning their food they rush off in the direction of the sound. Apparently, they have set a trap and the sound means that it worked. What happens in next few minutes might be forwarded as per your parental guidance. The scene ends with one of the men holding a bloody horn of rhinoceros and we know these are poachers.
-The Poachers in wait
It’s morning now and one of our three heroes, Dhanai is feeling quite happy and carefree. The vacations have begun. He is waiting for someone (our other two heroes), and as soon as they arrive the three just rush off to play, which involves a jungle safari on their elephant. Dhanai lives in the small village near the sanctuary and his cousins ask him to come to the city to study. But Dhanai is just too happy where he is.
As they roam in the protected forest area Dhanai spots some vultures in the sky. The kids move in the direction. When they reach there, they are appalled at the sight. It’s a carcass of a rhinoceros and they can spot that the horn is missing.
“Poachers” says Jonti- “It’s the work of poachers.”
And he is immediately struck with an idea. What a way to spend the vacations. Some adventure, some detective work and all for a benign cause- saving the rhino.
Dhanai gets excites too. But not Bulbul. He is more interested in eating and sleeping to spend his holidays and going on the trail of some poachers is the least expected way to spend them. But when the other two don’t listen to him he has no option but to join in.
The boys do some detective work on their own and find a few interesting clues. Now they are too eager to tell their Niyog Mama, who happens to be the forest ranger of the area, the things they found out.
-Can’t Wait to tell
Now, I absolutely liked this Niyog Mama. He is such a cool guy. He listens to them patiently, appreciates their concern and excitement and even visits the spot in question to find some more. Meaning, Mamaji is certainly very supportive. He neither reprimands them for being nosy nor tells them to keep away from this kind of dangerous work.
Later on, after a sumptuous lunch, the children’s Mami sits down to read them some news about hunting and smuggling of rhinoceros horns. All of them get sad on hearing the plight of rhinos arising from greed or superstition of humans. Dhanai asks his Mama to do something to save this great species or as he puts it “Bachao us Bechare janwar ko” (Save that poor animal).
-Save the poor animal
Mamaji then impresses me more as he puts the three boys on watch as they know these forests like the back of their hand. They have been coming here since they were little kids. “Keep your eyes open but mouth closed”, he tells them. “It’s dangerous, so be careful.”
So, the adventure begins.
It’s night now. While Dhanai is sleeping in his home he hears some footsteps and sees a silhouette of a man. The man throws a knife. With the knife is a message-a warning- “Do not get involved in the matter or else…”. You know what.
Dhanai calls the other and shows them the warning. Bulbul gets scared but Jonti and Dhanai are in high spirits, in fact quite happy that they are on the right track. They tease Bulbul and tell him to go back if he is so afraid to do this work. Which of course means that he will not.
They immediately decide to have a meeting to deliberate on the information received so far and the next steps to take. After some more following of suspects and detective work they get a major information on the poachers and smugglers funding them.
They rush off to inform Niyog Mama at once. But he is not at home. He had some important work in Guwahati, Mami tells them. Fine, they say, we will see him in the morning. Oh no, but he may not be able to get back by morning. The boys get a little confused. What to do now? Mami keeps asking them about details and any message they have, but all three of them are way too excited. They also do not want to disclose more information to anyone else than Mamaji. So they insist Mamiji and make her promise that she will call Niyog Mama the first thing in the morning.
“Tell him we need him right away”.
She tells them to be careful. But these boys are not the ones to sit tight. “It’s up to us now to stop the poachers till Mamaji gets back.”
But what will they do? How are they going to stop the smugglers? Can three young boys face ruthless poachers? Does Mamaji make it in time?
To get an answer to these questions you will have to watch the movie. And watch you must. After all it’s based on a book acclaimed to be a classic in the category of children’s literature.
Recommended For- Age group: 4 years minimum, maximum age no bar.
Mark this movie for your weekend with kids. The cinematography is quite nice, capturing the scenic beauty of the lush green forests of Assam with shots of various animals. Sometimes even our regular movies for grown-ups fail to give such a beautiful coverage.
The other nice thing is the three characters of Jonti, Bulbul & Dhanai. They are very believable, as boys who have a long vacation to spend in the small village and therefore grab at a chance of adventure. They are young and therefore full of curiosity. There is no over the top behaviour or I know it all attitude. There escapades are simple and comic at the same time. While Jonti and Dhanai are too eager to do something, Bulbul sometimes joins reluctantly. However, courage and conviction are something they do not lack in the least. That’s why when they have to go ahead without help from someone elder they do not hesitate.
Every movie that is made for children tries to convey a message. This one aims to instill not just courage or conviction but also concern towards our environment and the animals inhabiting the wild. And all this is done in a fun non-preachy manner.
One thing I am sure about is that you will find the movie more entertaining than my description here. After watching this your kids and perhaps you too will be humming this sort of theme song from the film for a coming few days:
You can watch the full movie in the Ultra Kids Zone here.
DISCLAIMER: The screenshots, stills and videos from the movie are included here only for the purpose of information, entertainment and propagation of children’s cinema. The copyright over the film rests with the owners/ producers of the movie.