Visualize it’s 2006 or 2007. Heavy rain is pouring with gusty winds outside. Mom asks not to go to school and you with your utmost satisfaction sit in front of the television to watch your favourite cartoons nonstop.
Sounds wholesome in this tedious adulthood, no? These were the heavenly days of getting relinquished in the world of cartoons without thinking about the circumstance around us.
Cartoons or animations can take us to different worlds, eternities and dimensions and that is why we all enjoy them.
We all grew up watching cartoons like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, Doraemon, Ninja Hattori, Shinchan and many more.
However, Bengali cartoon shows were no way less than these legendary shows in terms of enchanting our childhood. Do we remember our connection with witty little Meena or fish-loving Halum from Sisimpur?
First up we get Meena, a fictional character, who uses stories to educate South Asian children about gender, health and social equality.
In the story, Meena undertakes various adventures to reform her society such as trying to get balanced schooling for boys and girls, sharing the same portion of nutriment as Raju (her brother), learning and enlightening others about HIV, assisting and comforting people, thwarting child marriage, stave off eve-teasing and so on.
All of her stories are to exhibit bizarre social and cultural practices, removing superstitions from society.
Meena Cartoon, a television show specially designed for the mental wellbeing of South Asian children–created by UNICEF, is currently broadcast in English, Bengali, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu. Meena cartoons can be seen on both BTV and YouTube.
Tuktuki, Ikri, Halum are as prominent as our neighbourhood friends. One of the most popular children's TV shows in Bangladesh, 'Sisimpur' seems to be everyone's beloved cartoon.
‘Sisimpur’ was inspired by a popular American series ‘Sesame Street’ and it is regularly aired on BTV.
Being the most beloved educational program of the children, it also teaches a lot about the environment.
For example, they discourage wasting water, encourage recycling, even talk about how to prevent environmental pollution.
Gopal Bhar is outstandingly famous all over Bengal for giving social messages by making gags with his humorous activities. He was among the nine Navaratna of Raja Krishnachandra, the king of Padiya, giving extreme pleasure to others through his humorous oration.
The main mission of Bhar was not to hurt people with words but to punch them in naughty means. Gopal was well known for presenting the precise idea at the right time in the guise of mischief.
Many of us used to dream of being witty and humorous like Gopal one day. If you feel the urge to revisit your childhood friend Gopa, you can binge-watch Gopal Bhar at Sony Aatt and YouTube.
‘Nut Boltu’ is one of the most popular names among Bengali cartoon show lovers. The story revolves around two best friends named Nut and Boltu, who are way too mischievous and troublemaker.
They often get caught into ridiculous adventures in the guise of mischief but with the strength of their awestruck intelligence and cleverness, they are somehow apt to destroy the insidious plan of the criminal.
“Thakumar Jhuli eibar khulbe, shono shono Thakuma golpo bolbe” - needless to say, each time we heard these sentences, we felt impatience inside to know what thrilling story would come out today.
Thakumar Jhuli is another level of a wholesome cartoon from our childhood. Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar, who collected the fable of Bengal, published them all in 1908, naming it Thakumar Jhuli.
It is a collection of Bengali folk tales and fairy tales, which our grandparents narrated to us while sleeping at night when we were children.
What should a children's show look like?
We can’t just put on any channel with animations to make children watch it. Cartoons revolve around child psychology and with the help of cartoons, kids can learn about the world around them, about new emotions, life issues and other important things.
So cartoons should be selected wisely. They should contain certain elements that are beneficial for a child’s proper growth, just like the cartoons that made our childhood awesome and taught us many things as well.
- The cartoon should have some social and educational connotations with joy so that the young sweethearts can cheerfully learn different things.
- The language of cartoons should be polished in Bangla just so the toddler minds can easily enjoy them with utmost pleasure.
- The plot of the cartoon has to be unique and creative because if they all come with the same storyline, kids will feel bored and their creative development will be insufficient.
- According to the world-famous cartoonist Sandomer, cartoons should be like Green Smoothie, where children learn (greens); interact (protein), and get the right combination of attention (sweet ingredients).
- The characters of the cartoon have to be fascinating because if the main character is goofy, kids won’t show much interest in that cartoon.