No shortcuts for this Safari

shortcut safariSANGEETA YADAV speaks with actor JIMMY SHERGILL and director AMITABHA SINGH to find out more about the children’s film Shortcut Safari

Bollywood rarely makes movies that are children-centric. Therefore, it is not surprising that Shortcut Safari, had to face several hurdles, it took two years before it could be released. The story revolves around seven children from the city who get lost in a forest while on a safari. From shooting among the tribals in the dense forest of Daang in Gujarat, to getting this film to theatres, the makers and actors recount their journey.

For Jimmy Shergill, it was a scary experience.

“I was shooting in a jungle for the first time. There were insects and snakes. I was afraid that they would get inside my clothes. We also had to make sure that we didn’t pollute the jungle,” Shergill says, whose next film Traffic is releasing on May 6, 2016.

The experience of shooting among tribals was a once in a lifetime opportunity for him.

“The best part is that these jungles are still have tribes who treated Shivaji Maharaj when he used to get injured during a war. Nobody can tell you things about this place like these people can,” Shergill says.

Though the film premiered in November 2014 at National Children’s Film Festival, it took two years to hit the big screens.

“It has been a 24×7 war between a film which is completely non-existent in the larger scheme of things and  a team which says ‘No, this is what we believe in and this must go out there, come what may’.  I’ve  engaged with the business space of cinema for the first time. I’ve realised that as a cocooned film fraternity, we thrive on making money off each other. I’ve not come across people who would like to engage with the outside world for business. At the end of the day, the source of funds and the producer gets squashed in this melee,” director Amitabha Singh says.

Singh feels that the need of the hour is to shed that cocoon and go out in the real world, engage with real people and tell real stories.

“There is no money coming from outside and no effort to engage with others. Doing that will make it easier to get funds. As makers, we have to shed our  comfort zone and go out and get things done,” Singh says.

The reason why only few children’s films made Singh says: “It is unfortunate that the makers are not sensitised and have no understanding of making this content. A lot of content that is passed on under the garb of children’s content is actually for the adults but that’s not good. The content should be such that it gives out a message to minds which are extremely fertile.”

Another problem is that not many actors can share a rapport with children. But Shergill has done a great job in the film.

“It was an amazing experience working with children,” Shergill says.

(The article was published in The Pioneer Newspaper –



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