Now, an Indian Gulliver's Travels
DREAM Productions' Jajantaram Mamantaram (J2M2) is a children's film based on the old Gujarati fable of Bakasur, which tells the tale of a sleeping giant who wakes up only to eat people. The film is also inspired by Gulliver's Travels.
Starring dancer, mimic and actor Jaaved Jaaferi in the lead role, the film has been directed by Soumitra Ranade. Ranade, who has written the story himself, explains the title as the war cry of Shundivashis, the inhabitants of the mythical island—Shundi. Jajantaram Mamantaram means 'we shall overcome,' he says.
The stories of Bakasur and
Gulliver have been adapted to a contemporary situation. Aditya (Jaaved
Jaaferi), a Mumbaiite, reaches Shundi, a mythical island. To his
surprise, he finds the inhabitants to be much smaller than him. Though
initially the villagers feel that Aditya is there to harm them, they
soon make friends with him. However, danger is lurking in the
background. Chattan Singh (Gulshan Grover), the army chief, has with him
a magical contraption with which he creates Jhamunda, a giant. Jhamunda
terrorises the village. He coaxes the villagers into giving him children
from time to time for food in return for a promise that he will not
plunder the village.
The role of Jhamunda has been essayed by newcomer Joy Fernandes. Jaaved, who plays Aditya, says tongue-in-cheek, 'This is my first blue film. I shot the whole film, except the scenes with Joy Fernandes, against a blue screen.'
Each composite shot, containing Jaaved, Jhamunda and the villagers had to be shot in layers. While shooting Jaaved with the villagers, one-foot-long dolls would be placed near him so that while talking he could look into the eyes of the dolls. Later, a reverse process would be set in motion with a 36-feet-long bamboo (to represent Jaaved) and the actors who play the villagers. The villagers would be required to look up to the bamboo while performing.
Ranade, who has earlier made a Marathi film, says of J2M2, 'Shooting for the film was no cakewalk. It was as if we were making three films at the same time. Due to special effects every shot had to be taken in eight to nine layers. We had 170 shifts while most films have barely 45.'
The film, which has been shot in and around Mumbai, has special effects by Maya Entertainment Ltd, an indigenous company.
Music has been provided by
Narayan Parshuram's musical group, Three Brothers And A Violin, which
has been producing talking books for children since 1996 and has about
30 titles to their credit, including the famed Karadi Tales. LMN