More than a bollywood filmmaker…

Shaheen Muhammed

“Children in my life..and children in my films are the most important part…without them there is a big part of ‘me’ missing.” says Amol Gupte, writer of Tare Zameen Pe (2008). people wondered where did the man behind one of the most critically acclaimed hindi film vanish off for a long time. But for him, he says, ” i was always there in the industry. but painting and working with special children was always my first priority. TZP wasnt my so-called first big-break, it was the projection of my endeveour for all these years with dyslexic children. It was a story that needed to be told..and the best way was through cinema.”

Apart from being a painter, scriptwriter, filmaker and actor, this multi-faceted and highly talented man has the most unique side to his story. He takes Cinema and Theatre classes for the less-priviledged children at Pali Chimbai Municipal School, Bandra.
“our society has already reserved jobs for the financially challenged. they are only meant to do menial and vocational jobs. Cinema, accordingly then becomes an art and profession only for the rich. This is the mis-conception i wanted to break. My interaction with these kids made me realise what immense talent and caliber they possessed. And so i decided to give them the opportunity to inherit Cinema and learn film making. and i am sure, one day they will be better than any of those huge film school pass-outs that take in lakhs of fees.” Claims a proud Gupte.
In 2009, the first ever Mumbai International Children’s Film Festival (MICFF) was organised. Amol Gupte’s vision started taking shape and the dream turned into reality when “Aansoo Bane Moti” which was made by the children of Pali Chimbai Municipal School was screened at the festival along with Megan Mylan’s Oscar winning documentary “Smile Pinki”.Recently, he finished shooting his first feature film ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ which wasagain a film about children. The film was shot in a workshop format where the children acted in the film while they

learned cinema during the workshop.

“you can see it in their eyes…they are no less dreamers and they have the potential to achieve it. one just need to channelise them with the right resources. I have taken the responsibilty to take them ahead. i am sure a lot of other will do so also…only then will we be an equal state…culturally..cinematically…”

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