The 1951 Report of the Film Enquiry Committee, headed by S.K. Patil, noted that the large audience of children for Indian cinema was not provided with age-appropriate films: “even if the films they see are not harmful to them, it is very unlikely that children can derive from these the same degree of entertainment which specially planned films can provide” (GoI 1951, 60). The Children’s Film Society India (CFSI) was subsequently established in 1955 as a registered society with state funding to produce and distribute films for children. The 1980 Report of the Working Group on National Film Policy suggested that the field of children’s films remained neglected, while recording that in its first 25 years of existence the Children’s Film Society produced over 100 feature and short films, and imported over 50 films for children. Referencing the production of children’s films in the U.K., Russia, and the U.S., the 1980 Report emphasised that good children’s films should entertain rather than simply instruct: “the first consideration in making special films for children should be to add joy to their life. Instruction should occupy a secondary place” (GoI 1980, 51).
Children’s Film Society India is today involved in the production, distribution, and exhibition of films and television for children in 10 languages. Jaldeep (1956, Dir. Kidar Sharma), CFSI’s first production, collected first prize for Best Children’s Film at the 1957 Venice Film Festival. Like India’s National Film Development Corporation, the CFSI aims to promote an alternative to commercial cinema and television, “committed to supporting high quality children’s content that is not only entertaining but encourages children to reflect on the world around them” (CFSI). The CFSI organises a biennial international children’s film festival. – Liam Grealy
– Barnouw, E., & Krishnaswamy, S. (1980). Indian film. New York: Oxford University Press.
– India, Government of (1951). Report of the Film Enquiry Committee.
– India, Government of (1980). Report of the Working Group on National Film Policy.