In the late 1980s, it was a usual Saturday evening. Back then, on DoorDarshan, they used to show a Hindi movie every Saturday at 5:30 in the evening. We had looked in the morning newspaper to see whether the movie that evening would be any interesting. To our disappointment, we saw that instead of a familiar sounding film name or any familiar actors’ names the movie had a strange name with no names of actors. Moreover, it seemed like it was going to be a (boring, I can’t believe at that age a film on freedom fighters sounded boring to me) film on freedom regardless of the fact it was not the time around 15th of August (Indian Independence Day) or 26th January (Republic Day). And when the names of the actors also weren’t listed, the family figured it wouldn’t be worth watching the movie that evening. Our lady maid, who also happened to be a BIG movie buff, usually joined us for movies every week. She also left early that evening thinking it wasn’t worth staying back to watch such boring movie.
Finally, when the movie was starting, we decided to watch the beginning of the movie just to see whether it was going to be related to freedom fighters. To our utter surprise, we saw it started out with the life of a madaari/conjurer, who owned two monkeys named Shankar & Gauri, and made these animals do different kinds of tricks for his living. Most of us were not interested in continuing watching the film but all of a sudden we realized, the animals in this film had human voices. They spoke and shared their feelings with the audience like us humans. Often when the madaari treated the animals very rudely, and in despicable manner, not feeding them when they had worked very hard and practically treating them like vermin, the monkeys talked and shared their dislike towards their owner. The movie was getting more and more interesting now and as the audience we were becoming more curious to find out what the rest of the story was going to be like. Eventually in the film, the pair decides to give up on their master and breaks free from his slavery. That’s when we realized, the main actor and actress of this movie were not humans, but two monkeys, who talked and shared feelings in even better way than what the humans can do.
The entire movie was a journey of their freedom, freedom from human kind and their mean behavior. On their struggle-filled journey, they end up helping out and freeing many other animals who were in same situation as theirs (dependent on and slave to humans) including a snake, an elephant and many others. With snake, it's an amazing incident, because one instance the monkeys help snake become free from his master and later in the forest when one of the monkeys is drowning in puddle of mud, the snake they had saved earlier unites his community members and saves the monkey. At once instance, our main hero and heroine get separated from each other and go through very painful time that even the audience can feel and relate to. And then at another instance, they even stop themselves from being hurtful towards other humans, and help them because they realized it wouldn't be worth seeing anyone suffer or to be revengeful. There were so many instances during the movie where I remember literally bursting into tears just looking at helpless animals were going through just for their survival. At the end of the film, as I vaguely remember now, one monkey, throwing away the clothes their human master had provided to them, says “inn kapdo mein insaan ki boo aa rahi hai”. I admire the dialog writer who wrote the dialogs for this film.
The film showed a sarcastic view of the inconsiderate behavior of human kind for treating animals badly. The film gave me totally different perspective about animals after I watched it. And, I am so happy today to find out that this film had won the National Film Award (Golden Lotus Award) for Best Children's Film award in 1986. I really wish I get to see this marvelous film again one day!
Film Name: Aazadi ki Ore aka Azaadi ki Aor aka Azadi ki Aur
Cast: Shankar (Monkey - male), Gauri (Monkey - female), Gabbar Singh, Sundari (Elephant), Ganesh, Nagaraja
Director: P. S. Prakash
Music Director: Ramesh Naidu
Release Date: Friday, September 26, 1986
Updated on 2010-06-04:
Mr. Krishnaprasad Ekbote shares with us the posters of Malayalam movie 'Kadinte Makkal' (1986) by P.S. Prakash.