Iconiq India blog
WHAT'S NEW & WHAT'S COOKING
B V Harish Kumar
(Harish is a co-founder of IconiqIndia and a father to a 12-year-old and a 9 year-old.)
I have drawn many life-lessons for myself from sports, films and books. I also use these as triggers for conversations I want to have with our kids on certain topics. For example, when I'm watching Lagaan, it's much easier for me to explain to my 9 year-old about how the British exploited Indians before 1947 and yet, there were some Britons who were kind - so there's no need to paint everyone with the same brush. Having such a conversation without the backdrop of the film may not be that effective.
The kids’ first priority is to watch/listen to something new but they also enjoy the hand-picked recommendations from when we were young because they know we would have chosen well. There are so many new films, songs, books, shows that are coming out every day that you are always trying to play catch up. You cannot be on top of the game. You have to depend on curated lists.
While there is merit in allowing the kids to discover their own tastes and letting them find the gems of yesteryear on their own, we can also help them save time by pointing them to the ones they must sample – those iconic films, songs, books.
I use these films as triggers for conversations that I want to have with kids about topics like religion, beliefs, good vs. bad, principles, sports, India-Pakistan partition, unemployment etc. Of course, if every film is treated as a reflection exercise and converted into an essay-writing competition, kids will see through it. But there are films that are made well and get the viewers to ask questions. Some of them are uncomfortable but they are important because without the backdrop of these films, some of those conversations can be very boring or theoretical.
I tried to make a list of films that I try to find time for, or at the minimum, talk to the kids about. We are yet to watch all of them. Most of the films in my list are Hindi films like Sholay, Lagaan, Mr. India, Gol Maal and a stray Sonar Kella in Bengali.
I'm trying to crowd-source a more comprehensive list by adding more lesser known films to this list - both in Hindi and other Indian languages. The main criteria is that they should be age-appropriate for kids of ages 5-13 years and can be triggers for conversations about India, life and the world around them. Please add to this list or share it with other parents who can contribute.