It's a great time to be a kid, strictly going by all the entertainment options available today. There are more movies, shows and cartoons than ever before. This Children's Day, we're here to help you sift through the glut of content to find the real gems.
This playlist has movies that are timeless and have significance beyond entertainment. Some are stories designed to cater to their growing needs, others are aimed at understanding the world and offering life lessons, and the rest are just dazzling pieces of colourful imagination.
Here's a list of 10 great watches this Children's Day.
One of Netflix's first animation projects is a humorous, heart-warming new take on the Santa Claus story with a rich new style of animation that feels as comfortable as it is refreshing. But beyond it's visual flair, Klaus is a touching tale of friendship and connection which captures the essence of the Santa story – putting others before yourself.
You can't really go wrong with a lazy, loveable panda set in a dazzling universe of talking animals and martial arts lore. Kung Fu Panda (2008) remains every bit as enjoyable today and is an ideal watch for the young ones, with its colourful characters, self aware humour and fortune cookie wisdom.
The desire to taste pizza for the first time turns into a whirlwind of adventure and obstacles for two slum children in this Tamil-language film. One of the most delightful children's films to come out in India recently, Kaaka Muttai isn't about poverty, but humanity. Filled with superb acting and attention to detail, it highlights class and the fault lines in our society without any preaching.
Great children films are, ultimately, great films. And Satyajit Ray's Sonar Kella—as well as his other Feluda film, Joi Baba Felunath—appeals to the child as much as to the child in every adult. Few filmmakers in the world understood the psyche of children as much as Ray, and it is the basis of Feluda's first case on film. Where else would a 6-year-old boy's visions of past life be taken seriously enough to be sent in search of a certain golden fortress in Rajasthan with a parapsychologist, and a private detective to look into the matter? An ageless mystery that's also a fun adventure movie, hop on that train with Feluda, Topshe and Co.
Few animated films have blended adventure and heart as well as How To Train Your Dragon. Hiccup, an inept Viking breaks his people's tradition of killing dragons by deciding to befriend one. At its core, this is a tale of humanity, empathy and above all, what is means to rise above prejudice. Also, it has dragons. Most things tend to be better with dragons.
In a world where animated films are dominated by Hollywood's approach to them, this Studio Ghibli classic opens the mind and offers a different language of outlandish imagination. Chihiro, a ten-year-old, is going back home and on the way, her family enters a town consumed by spirits. What starts as a grim, illusionary plot is, in fact, Chihiro's bridge to self-discovery. Writer and director Hayao Miyazaki builds an environment so intricate and gorgeous, that it looks like one straight out of a fairytale. A mix of the real and the surreal, Spirited Away is a perfect guide for young ones into the world of witches, monsters and life lessons.
In a world built on division, the right stories can make all the difference in building empathy and understanding, as is brought to life beautifully in this Academy Award-winning short. The heartfelt story of an African-American father learning to do his daughter's hair for the first time becomes a sweet and pleasant commentary on identity and self-acceptance.
You can find countless movies about the importance of education, but here's a Malayalam film that tells children it's okay if you don't like math. That it does so with a tinge of fantasy, a magical pen and a genie makes it that much more worthwhile.
The delightful Pixar short follows a young boy who resents his father for interrupting his morning cartoons for prayers. That is until Sanjay uses his imagination to bring Vishnu, Durga and Hanuman to life and sets off on a sprawling adventure. It's a wonderful story of connecting generations and learning to share who we are with those we love.
Mainstream Hindi cinema rarely make movies for kids. Enter Anurag Basu's dizzyingly imaginative and fantastically fun Jagga Jasoos. Anurag Basu doesn't just tell stories, he creates worlds and nowhere was that more apparent than the outlandishly innovative Jagga, told almost entirely through song. It's part colouring book, part musical, part detective-on-an-adventure story, all wrapped up in wonderful characters you feel deeply for.
Special Mentions: Inside Out, Paddington, Coco, Wall-E, Iqbal