Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya or The World of Goopi and Bagha,  directed by Shilpa Ranade was screened at London Indian Film Festival.

The film is an adaptation of the original 1969 Bengali language film by the award-winning director, Satyajit Ray.

The story revolves around two animated characters called Gupi and Rabi who travel together on a magical fantasy, a delight for the whole family to watch together.

Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya follows the journey of Goopy and Bhagha, an amateur singer and drummer respectively, who come across each other after being thrown out of their home towns.While travelling together in the forest they meet the King of Ghosts who offers them some magical slippers and three special wishes.

In 1969, the Bengali version Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne was a smash hit spending 51 weeks at the box office. Ray’s original film won 6 awards including Award for Best Direction in New Delhi in 1968, Best Film in Melbourne in 1970, and Best Merit in Tokyo in 1970.

Satyajit Ray said: “It’s extraordinary how quickly it has become part of popular culture. Really there isn’t a single child in the city who doesn’t know or sing the songs (from the film).”

The new animated feature by Ranade while taking forward the legacy was screened at the 18th International Children’s Film Festival in Hyderabad.

The songs and dance sequences blended well with the story-line and characters that brought much laughter to the audiences at LIFF.

Director Shilpa Ranade admits that it was a conscious decision to recreate Ray’s Bengali black and white original in an animated form. When she first came across the feature, she thought: “This has to be an animation film.”
“It’s not a very expensive film. We’ve spent about two and a half years making our film with very few people, about 20 people making the film. I think we’ve risen to the challenge and made a film that people are keen to watch and excited about seeing.” she said.

Ranade offers a fun and hugely entertaining film that can be enjoyed by all audiences. But Ranade admits that funding for such films is hard to come by. “Goopi is produced by Children’s Film Society, India. I’m not sure whether I would’ve been able to make it without state funding or not. We need state to step in to bring films to more people,” she says.

“There’s a huge level of interest in India. A lot of people want to be animators. Lots of young people now, everyone you see, every second people wants to be an animator, which is great. We have a lot of animation schools coming up.” she adds.

The animated film has already made the rounds at the Toronto Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival, and it is clear to see why the London Indian Film Festival have also chosen to promote the children’s film.