Shilpa Ranade’s Goopy Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya is a 2D animation film produced by the Children’s Film Society of India. People from Bengal would be very familiar with the story of Goopy Bagha written by Upendra Kishore Roychowdury. Satyajit Ray then adapted this story of his grandfather into a 1969 film Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen.
This is yet another adaptation in animation. The music is brilliant.
The most elaborate of all the characters is the Ghost King. Either the film was made to give this character a central role, and built around it, or the illustrator, I think Ranade herself, became too involved in making it. Clearly, it is one of my favourite characters of the film, the detailing, the colour, the entire effect..it brings back memories of the puppet show culture.
The cast looks Indian complete with the turban, and their clothes. The food is Indian, and finally there are laddus falling from the sky, a la biblical manna kind of effect.. there is the evil minister and his magician friend.. it brings back memories of good old Arabian nights, Alif Laila..
The film is very Indian in its elements. The Indian audience especially those who grew up on the earlier Doordarshan’s earliest animation documentaries can relate to it better. I wonder whether any of you remember this ek aur anek, the meena cartoons. The Meena cartoons were funded and conceived by the UNICEF sometime in the 80s. Ek aur Anek, I am surprised is from 1974 produced by the film division, and clearly pedagogical in intention. The teaching element is right there in front of us in the form of an elder sister who teaches her younger brother.
Coming back to Gopi and Bagha..I felt the one thing they could have improved is the character sketch of the two princesses – they looked very different, yes, but very weird as well. This could be because of the established idea of the beautiful, I could argue. When fair and lovely teaches you that fair is beautiful!! Even then, this representation was a little too much, they seemed like some triangular shaped bird faced beings..
Watch the film, they may make it commercial soon. Enjoyed thoroughly, the voice overs, the songs.. the songs were really good… the lyrics and the vocals. One of the trivia was the music company’s name – 3 brothers and a violin. That little bit from the title credits caught our attention.. and that brought us to our academic word fun, as usual, we went on, our internal jokes and satires on the different isms. .. “why 3 brothers, for instance, why not a sister.. is violin a female? what not a harmonica or a guitar.. or a flute.! couldn’t it be 2 brothers, 1 sister, a violin and drums.. ” our usual fare of making fun .. and it continues launching ua into discussing theory at the same time critiquing its practice.
Here you go, the trailer. It was screened as part of the film festival on campus.