indian cinema heritage foundation

HEROISM-Children's Film Society gives the lead

23 Oct, 2023 | Archival Reproductions by Cinemaazi
The brave Maharana Pratap fights the enemy at Haldighat. His 20,000-strong army inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

At a time when the Chinese aggressors are still on our soil, it is heartening to note that Children's Film Society is producing films based on heroic deeds to inspire the country's young people.

Of particular interest is the film "Chetak," adapted from the story of Maharana Pratap, who gave his life for the defence of his kingdom of Mewar, and his horse Chetak who bore him through the thick of the fighting and was killed serving his master in the Battle of Haldighat, fought on June 18, 1576. Rajput soldiers fought heroically under the leadership of the Maharana and, although they were defeated, they inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.

The veteran actor, Prithviraj Kapoor, portrays the Maharana and the part of Chetak is played by one of the best horses from the Poona stud of the Maharaja of Gwalior.

Ably directed by Kidar Sharma, "Chetak" is a good full-length film based on a historical episode. A scene in it worth mentioning is the one in which an old Bhil offers his only grandson to the Maharana, after all his four sons have died on the battlefield.

Chetak keeps watch over his tired master while he rests.

Among other films produced by the Society, one may mention "Veer Purush" (Hero). It is based on one of the best-loved poems of Gurudev Tagore and depicts the flights of imagination of a young boy who dreams he is saving his mother from the hands of a gang of dacoits. 

A third film, "26th January," tells the story of the suffering and sacrifice of our leaders to achieve their country's independence.

"Scout Camp," another film, has adventure as its theme. The heroes are two boy scouts who, during a trek through the jungle, come across the cave of dacoits who have been terrorising the area. The police finally capture them, thanks to the presence of mind and courage of the scouts. The Society's other offering, "Char Dost," is again based on adventure. It is the story of two boys and a girl, and their love for a bear.

Among other purposeful films are "Guru  Bhakti," based on a story from the Mahabharata and telling how a small boy, through devotion to his Guru and encouragement by his mother, realises his ambition of becoming an archer; the films "Yatra" and "Ekata," on the subject of emotional integration; and "Meera Ka Chitra" and "Bal Ramayan," with religious devotion as their theme; "Dilli Ki Kahani," in which Dr. Rajendra Prasad is shown narrating the glorious history of Delhi to a group of Children; and "Bapu Ne Kaha Tha" with Union Minister Morarji Desai as the story teller talking to children about Gandhiji.
Shakti Singh, the Maharana's brother, who had joined the enemy camp, repentsand offers his own horse to the Maharan to take Chetak's place.

Inaugurating a film festival in Delhi in December 1953, the President, Dr. Radhakrishnan, said: "If you want to make the young people get some idea of human dignity, human rights, the need for truthfulness, for integrity, it is not by asking them to be truthful, but it is by presenting to them concrete examples by means of films."

This article was published in 'Filmfare' magazine’s Feb 22, 1963 edition written by S K Gupta.
Images and captions appeared are from the original article.


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