For the first time ever, as a blogger, I was invited to be a part of a movie promotion event. If you've been thinking, what's the connection with the title 'Valentine Walk in Woods' and a movie promotion, let me enlighten you...This was unlike any other run-in-the-mill film cliched promotion announcement- this was a zara sa hatke and a fun way to promote the film that keeps it's theme with nature and relates to children.
So on 13th February 2016, I traveled to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) the Conservation Education Centre (CEC), located near Film City in Goregaon East, Mumbai for a Blogger Safaari with the team of Shortcut Safaari.
I was to meet my fellow bloggers Sujata Tawde, Geeta Sridhar, Amreen Sheikh, UK, Priya, Manujsha Pandey and a few others, invited by Riddhi Sharma. Reaching at 10.30 a.m. a wee bit late thanks to my autorickshaw driver, who had decided to go for his own trail by taking a detour from the venue.
From 10.30 am to 12.30 pm we had set out for a nature walk in the woods, at BNHS - Mumbai's best kept secret. Joining us bloggers on this walk was the Director of Shortcut Safaari movie himself, Amitabha Singh, who had earlier warmly welcomed each Blogger to the venue. And our VIPs of the day were the school children from Nehru Nagar Public School, Kanjurmarg. With instructions registered, pee breaks done and water bottles filled, we formed two groups and dispersed with two BNHS experts, one for each group. As soon as I stepped out side the BNHS observatory and classroom, I was taken back to my school days, a good 15 years ago. (Stop guessing my age!)
It took me back to the time our school had taken us to BNHS, perhaps for an Environmental Studies assignment. And I'm sure, at that age I was not really paying a lot of attention to information given out about the trees and the critters there. But this time, it was different.
I was refreshed to know so many interesting facts on the bio diversity that is packed inside the green cover of Mumbai. Like did you know, Mumbai is home to the world's largest moth, the Atlas Moth? Or did you know about the agility of the Grey Hornbill or the beauty of the striped Tiger Butterfly? They all live in a biodiversity park within Mumbai's limits almost undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of urban activity.
Egged on by the inquisitiveness and enthusiasm of the children, 15 years later, I paid attention to each word by the BNHS expert. What surprised me to no end was the sheer unadulterated enthusiasm of the school kids in asking and answering questions to the BNHS Experts. And what did not surprise me was the eagerness of the children to pose for snaps! (Yours truly clearly remembers being camera shy, and still is)
And to cater to such enthusiastic kids with bright and alert minds, a movie on nature is the need of the hour. That's what the movie Shortcut Safaari aims to do. At the end of the trail, we were treated to the music clip of a song from the movie but coded language! Can you guess what they are talking?
About 'Shortcut Safaari'Shortcut Safaari is an independent film written and directed by Amitabha Singh. Other than being a fun-filled journey, it highlights certain touch points that affect us on a day to day level. In the broader stream of events and themes, the film also focuses on nature sensitizing. To a great response, the Film was premiered during the National Children's Film Festival at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi in November 2014, organized by the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI).
Furthermore, it received huge resonating appreciation from the audiences at Nandan, Kolkata during the Kolkata Children's International Film Festival in December 2014 organized under the aegis of Shishu Kishore Academy, Government of West Bengal.
Shortcut Safaari has made its presence felt over various National and International children’s film festivals across the country and now the film has embarked upon a new journey to connect as many children as possible to nature through various innovative activities and screenings. With Shortcut Safaari, Amitabha consolidates his position in the children’s film category. He has earlier helmed the camera for Chillar Party, Khosla Ka Ghosla and India’s Oscar entry in 2014- Good Road.
I'm glad I got a chance to be a part of this Nature Trail cum Bloggers Safaari. I am sure such an initiative fulfilled its aim to view and to reconnect children with their roots and showcasing the natural world amidst the humdrum and chaos of daily city life.