BollySitter Recommends: ANJALI (1990)

BollySitter Recommended Age:         10+ (For mature emotional drama & theme of terminal illness)

BollySitter Family GO Factor:           4.0/5.0

 

Directed by:    Mani Ratnam

Starring:          Raghuvaran, Revathi, Shamili, Prabhu, Saranya Ponvannan, Tarun Vishnuvardhan

Written By:    Mani Ratnam

Language:       Tamil (dubbed in Hindi)

Music by:        Ilaiyaraaja

Produced by:   G. Venkateswaran, Nitin Manmohan

Lyrics by:        Vaali

Running time: 150 mins

Genre(s):         Family Drama

Anjali

SYNOPSIS

Dubbed in Hindi from Tamil, Anjali is a family drama about a married couple and their two children who live together in South India. Their third child, Anjali, is however born with a terminal disease.

The ailment is brought to the attention of the husband at the local hospital, and together, the hospital authorities and the husband collude to keep the child’s disease a secret from the mother. Their neighbors advocate the expulsion of the mentally-affected child from the colony as it is affecting other children. The film explores why the husband did what he did, how the family, including the two other children come to accept the child into their lives, how she is cared for, and whether they finally are ready to let her go. The film ultimately deals with the emotional trauma experienced by the family.

WHY WATCH?

Anjali is an emotional family drama which is packaged well with good writing, good acting and some entertaining songs as well.

The film promotes embracing the diversity around you. Through Anjali, a lot of neglected and misunderstood residents of the colony forge a bond with each other. The theme of compassion is prevalent throughout the film. Initially the normal kids are shown to dislike the mentally-challenged Anjali.

The mother and child are key characters in the film and it revolves around their relationship offering us rare female protagonists within an Indian film context.

A WORD OF CAUTION

The film is clean in terms of sexuality, language and smoking/drinking. However, there are some violent scenes and more importantly there are many intense scenes that are emotional and at times quite frightening. There are a few street fights shown in which the local goons create nuisance. The neighborhood kids also get into fights and altercations with each other. There is a murder shown after a long physical fight and another scene shows the protagonist is a witness to a murder scene.

One of the song sequences is scary with a mention of ghosts. There are intense scenes in the hospital where the kid is admitted during the final stages of terminal illness. In the beginning of the film, a stillbirth is depicted. The mentally challenged child is show hitting her mother   Neighbors are shown speaking in very angry tones with each other and with Anjali’s family.  Often the background music in emotional and a fight scene is very loud and intense. There is a scene where the mother packs her bags & threatens to walk out the house.

Kids watching the film may ask questions about terminal illness and about dealing with the death of a young child. The lead couple in the film also deals with infidelity and a potential divorce which could be very curious topics for younger kids.

The father is shown to lie in order to protect his family from any emotional trauma. The neighbors do not wish to interact with the family of a mentally-challenged child.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Anjali is a gut-wrenching emotional drama as one expects from a Mani Ratnam film. The film is appropriate for viewing with kids in the 10+ age group due to the mature emotional drama and theme of terminal illness. BollySitter gives Anjali a “GO” rating of 4.0/5.0.

BUM BUM BOLE (2010)

Directed by:     Priyadarshan

Starring:           Darsheel Safary, Atul Kulkarni, Rituparna Sengupta, Ziyah Vastani, Archana Suseelan

Written By:      Manisha Korde, Majid Majidi

Language:        Hindi

Music by:         MG Sreekumar, Tapas Relia, Azaan Sami

Produced by:   Satish Kaushik

Running time:  125 minutes

BollySitter Recommended Age: 12+

BollySitter Family GO Factor: 3.5/5.0

Content

The film is an official remake of master auteur Majid Majidi’s “Children of heaven” (1997) whose adaptation to Indian Milieu isn’t great, lacks warmth and poignany of the original but ends up being an adequate film nonetheless. It’s an extremely emotional film about an impoverished family. The child actors deliver their roles perfectly, the terror backdrop often seems jarring and avoidable and the film is a great alternative for parents looking for a meaningful entertainment tailored for kids.

 Violence 

The film opens with a bomb blast. There is a plenty of violence shown in connection with the setting of mild terrorism in the film, including a lengthy shooting crossfire, and other gunshot and killing scenes. There is an ambush shown in a jungle with a kidnapping. A man is slapped by police office before arrest. There is an attempted molestation scene.

Intense & Frightening scenes

Background music is often tense & scary. There is a scary nightmare that is featured.  There is a dead body shown with blood in a couple of scenes. There is a bike crash scene which mildly scary.

Sexuality 

There is an attempted molestation scene.

 Language 

Minor curse words are used like “Rakhail”, “Awara Kutta”, “HaramKhor”, “Suar” .

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None.

Attitude/Behavior

The film shows a kid stealing in a scene only to realize it himself and make amends later.  Extreme poverty is shown leading to kids begging and crying for food from a local grocer.  A father is shown often scolding his kids.

Bottom line

Overall, the target film audience is 10+ year-olds who can handle some mature violent scenes that are interspersed throughout the film.

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews.

ZOKKOMON (2011)

Directed by:     Satyajit Bhatkal

Starring:           Darsheel Safary,  Manjari Phadnis, Anupam Kher , Tinnu Anand

Story & Screenplay By:           Satyajit Bhatkal, Lancy Fernandes, Svati Chakravarty Bhatkal

Language:        Hindi  

Music by:         Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Produced by:   Disney World Cinema

Running time:  109 minutes

BollySitter Recommended Age: 7+

BollySitter Family GO Factor: 4.5/5.0

Content

Bollywood, which has an abysmal track record in producing films for kids, Zokkomon happens to a rare exception. Produced by Disney, it has the elements you come to expect from the brand that includes high production values, a certain sweetness and innocence and a relevant message for all ages. However, some characters and their actions are shown as old-fashioned /dated, but the screenplay is written in quirky fashion to make the on screen happenings believable ably supported by some great acting.   It’s a film which shows win of good over evil and creates a kids version of a superhero that captures kids imagination very well.  Ultimately, the movie promotes science and education over superstition & black magic.

Violence
In a village school, the teacher exercises discipline using physical means; some slapping is shown.  There is a scene showing attempted strangling of a kid character by an adult.  There is scene showing a house set on fire.  There is additional stylized mild violence that is staple of superhero films.

Intense & Frightening scenes

Background music is often scary. A child falls from top of a building and almost dies. There are some crying and emotional scenes. There is a lengthy car chase sequence which is frightening. There is ample anger on display along with unusual voice used by zokkomon which can scare some kids. There is an alleged haunted house with ghosts and there are many scenes where some characters apparently see a ghost and react with horror. There is also a scene showing kids chased by Bats. Some costumes and makeup look eerie in appearance. There is a fake death and a funeral.

Sexuality 

None

Language 

No hard curse words are used.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None

Attitude/Behavior

The theme of greed is prevalent in the film. The main villain of the film is shown to be a corrupt and immoral person that favors his son over his nephew (Cinderella like reference). He also abandons his nephew in remote place with the intention of getting rid of him and ultimately he plans to kill is nephew.  A friendly character in the film is shown living the life of an outlaw with minor criminal behavior shown in a good life (reference Robinhood). There is Black magic & superstition scenes spread through the film.

Bechdel test 1/3

Movie has two significant female characters, but they never interact with each other.

Bottom line

Overall, the target film audience is 7+ year-olds that can handle some stylized action sequences & some emotional drama.

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews on

http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/zokkomon/

HAWAA HAWAAI(2014)

Directed by:      Amole Gupte

Starring:            Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem, Makarand Deshpande, Neha Joshi, Anuj Sachdeva

Music by:          Hitesh Sonik, Amole Gupte

Running time:    120 minutes

BollySitter Recommended Age: 12+

BollySitter Family GO Factor: 4.0/5.0

Content

Essentially a children’s film, targeted towards kids in their lower teens and above. The film is about a poor Indian boy, aged between 12-14 years, who develops a passion for roller skating and how his coach helps him in pursuing his dream. The film delivers a positive message of not giving up on your dreams and to help your friends and parents despite the hard times that may have fallen upon them. 

Violence/Disturbing Sequences
There is no violence in the film per se. However, the film has certain scenes that may disturb young kids. In one sequence, an adult character falls dead due to a heart attack in front of his family. In another sequence, a child witnesses his father’s dead body getting readied for cremation. There is a prolonged montage of underprivileged poor kids working on the streets of Mumbai, while the privileged ones enjoy a life of comfort. A child has to be hospitalized due to malnutrition and excessive exhaustion. 

Sexuality 

There is no sexuality or nudity, staying in line with the overall theme of the film. 

Language 

No curse words are used.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One adult is shown as having caused an accident due to drinking and driving. Nothing is shown on screen and the character is later depicted as having realized his mistake by offering his apologies to the persons who were harmed due to his behavior.

Adults are depicted as indulging in casual smoking as a child serves them tea on a tea stall. Nothing objectionable or disturbing is shown.

Attitude/Behavior

One character, who initially thinks about achieving his own personal goals, realizes his mistake and changes his approach, keeping the feelings and needs of others in mind. Kids use the death of a parent as an excuse to request time off from their employer.

All characters are otherwise essentially shown to be good at heart, having the welfare and well-being of each other in mind. Children help their friend in time of need and enlist the support of adults. They are also shown to be respectful and helpful towards their parents as well as elders.

Children’s attitude towards life is shown to be positive, despite the hard conditions in which they have to survive. There are strong tones of friendship as well as love and care for siblings in the film.

Finally, the overall theme of not giving up on one’s dreams is prevalent throughout the film. The lead characters are shown to be determined individuals and parents watching the film with their children can highlight these aspects of the film, as part of any post-watching discussions they may have.

Bechdel Test 2/3

This is essentially a children’s film. The movie has three key female characters, but only two of them share any significant scenes with each other. The conversations between the female characters are minimal but they do revolve around how to make ends meet and not about men.

Bottom line

Overall, the target film audience is 12+ year-olds who have an understanding of the hardships faced by poor street kids in India and some mature content dealing with loss of a parent, death, disease and poverty. The sections of the film dealing with roller skating training can be motivational and inspire kids to play their favorite sport with renewed vigor.

For the quality of the film, check out the reviews on

http://thereviewmonk.com/movie/hawaa-hawaai/