Children’s films in Telugu are a rarity these days. There’s always a question over their box office potential and filmmakers often shy away from this space. Here’s a list of few such children’s films in Telugu which has taken the road less travelled over the past few decades.Anjali: 1990
Anjali-Artical-ImageMani Ratnam’s Anjali is a heartbreaking story of a family, whose perfect life is shattered when a mentally disabled child becomes part of their lives. The film was originally made in Tamil in 1991 and later it was dubbed in Telugu and Hindi. Raghuvaran, Revathi, Tarun, Shamili, Shruti and Prabhu played the lead roles. The film was particularly noted for the portrayal of children in an apartment and a major subplot of the film is focused on their bonding and the ruckus they create much to the dismay of their parents. Back in those days, having a mentally disabled child in the family was considered as a big taboo and Mani Ratnam addresses the issue through a scene where parents of other kids demand Raghuvaran and his family to leave the apartment because they don’t want their kids to mingle with Shamili, who played the title role. The beauty of the film lies in how well Mani Ratnam portrays Anjali as the epitome of innocence and as the film progresses she brings so much happiness to those around her that the ending is bound to put a lump in your throat. Shamili became so popular after this film that several people had her posters in their homes and she really was one of the cutest child artists ever. She won a National Award for Best Child Artist and Anjali was India’s official entry to the Oscars in 1991.Teja: 1992
Teja was one of the new age Telugu films where the main protagonist was no longer a loner who wants to study, a theme which was quite rare to find in the 80s. Tarun, who played the lead role in a film, is an extremely intelligent boy who solves several mysteries and predicts events before they occur. His intelligence surprises everyone around him and in many ways, the audience as well. Post liberalization, education had become an important issue and it was the passport for middle class and poor to climb up the ladder. There’s no conclusive proof that Teja influenced the audience in a big way, but the film came in the same year (1992) when Bournvita Quiz contest was introduced on TV and being a geek became a style statement. Not to forget, the film was quite entertaining.Little Soldiers: 1996
Little Soldiers, produced and directed by Gangaraju Gunnam, is one of the most charming children’s films ever made in Telugu. Bunny (Kavya) and Sunny (Aditya) are forced to live with their grandfather Major Harishchandra Prasad (Kota Srinivasa Rao) after their parents die in an accident and the rest of the story is about how they bond with their grandfather. Apart from splendid performances by Kavya and Aditya, who played siblings in the film, Little Soldiers throws light on the heart-warming relationship between the kids and their grandfather once they break the ice. It’s a treat to watch the kids torment the cook named Gun (Brahmanandam) and the subsequent travails which the elders have to go through to raise the children.Bommalaata: 2004
Bommalata-Artical-ImagePrakash Kovelamudi and Rana Daggubati teamed up for an unlikely debut film, Bommalaata which was a tale about a boy who dreams of going to school. The entire film is narrated through puppets and there’s even a dialogue in the film where the puppets say, “So far, you have narrated a story through us and now listen to a story through our perspective.” The film traverses the life of a young boy, a role played by a child artist named Sai Kumar, as he goes to work every day after taking a sneak peek at a school through a hole in the wall. The film is narrated from the point of view of the young boy and we slowly begin to empathize with his dream. Sai Kumar was conferred with National Award for Best Child Artist for his performance in the film. Shriya Saran made a guest appearance.7 Days in Slow Motion: 2012
7-Dayd-in-slow-motion-1-Artical-Image7 Days in Slow Motion, directed by Umakanth Thumrugoti, is a story of how three kids follow their passion for cinema and in the process they end up capturing the lives of the adults they come across in a span of seven days. The film also has a brilliant take on the pressure which parents exert on their kids to excel in studies at the cost of following their dreams. The life of Ravi (Teja) is defined by a pie-chart drawn by her mother where only 0.2% is catered for fun. Ravi dreams of becoming a filmmaker and one fine day, he finds a camera which gives him a scope to make a film to meet his favourite Bollywood heroine. He gets only seven days to fulfill his dream after which he has to return the camera and write his final exams. 7 Days in Slow Motion is a fine example of ingenuity in the face of an insurmountable problem and the fact that the spirited performances by the kids in the film make the film a delight to watch.Papam Pasivadu: 1972
Papam Pasi Vaadu was released in the year 1972 and is a remake of the South African film Lost in the Desert. SV Ranga Rao played the role of the father of a terminally ill child. As the child is on his way for further treatment abroad, the private plane which is carrying him crashes in the desert. As the sole survivor of the crash and being thousands of miles away from home, the movie tells the story of his survival in the harsh desert. The touching story is famous for the song ” Amma Choodali” where the young boy misses his parents and longs to run back into their arms. Ramu Raghavan, the young lead of the film, shows a great deal of courage to find his way out of the desert and back home. ”The story was written by a future legend of Tollywood, Gollapudi Maruti Rao”.