TheCalmDev (Dev J Haldar)

ravings, rantings and ramblings

Myths and Counter-Myths

Probably to compensate for the lack of reading habits and the dwindling knowledge of Indian mythology, some have taken it upon themselves to convert those stories into animations. That is a great idea! Films and TV series of the same are proving pretty popular with the generation that is under 3 feet. These are now available on various websites that children can run on their own and can stay hooked for hours. Kids now know about characters like Ghatotkach and the adventures of Hanuman and Ganesh. That is the good bit. And now for the worrying bit – authenticity! Do these series pass any test of authenticity?

I chanced upon another one of Little Ganesha TV series on TV today and decided to see what they have to offer.

First up, let me speak about the animation. For children who are hooked on to series like Ben 10 and Tom and Jerry or the full length Disney or Pixar, animation styles used here would not interest children for long. A few cartoon series, back in the 80’s, had better animation as opposed to this. I am more than certain that Indian animation can do better than these garish, staccato preparation that is dished out.

Second, let us revisit the authenticity question. And the worry starts here. Stories are stretched without any rhyme or reason. I could still take that with a pinch of salt but tampering with stories is something that got me beyond irritable.

The story was that of a demon called Bhasmasura who earned himself a boon from Lord Shiva. And it was a destructive boon that gave him the power to turn his opponent to ashes, if he kept his hand on the opponent’s head. And being a bit of a sly demon, Bhasmasura tried to check the potency of the boon on Shiva himself. Shiva took off on the run, as he was chased by Bhasmasura. There was no respite for Shiva. He then thought of seeking help of the preserver of worlds, Lord Vishnu. Vishnu turned himself into an attractive woman called Mohini who took Bhasmasura fancied whole-heartedly. He flirted with Mohini as did Mohini indulge him. He wanted to marry her. Mohini agreed to it only if he could out-dance her. Bhasmasura agreed and matched her step-for-step. And while dancing, Mohini conned him into putting his hand on his head. Unguarded and enamoured, Bhasmasura put his hand on his head and within moments burned himself into a heap of ash. This is how the story goes (from the Skanda Purana).

However, this animation series showed, a child Ganesha coming to help his father. He engages Bhasmasura in a battle and somehow gets him to put his hand on his head. How utterly careless, is this!

I fail to IMAGINE why would a production house and a TV channel do something inappropriate like this! Mythological stories should be told as is. I am hoping they haven’t made mistakes like showing Ghatotkach killing Karna or Hanuman slaying Kumbhakarna!

I certainly vote against animation series, like the one mentioned. I’d rather recount a tale to a kid than expose them to series that tell otherwise.


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