Why Animations Matter
Animations have come a long way. With the evolution of CGI technology, the picture quality is sharper and the images more vivid and lifelike. Who can fail to be impressed by the vibrant and immersive content of contemporary animations? They are enjoyed by youngsters and adults alike and for this reason, provide an excellent opportunity for bonding between the generations.
However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of animations. Youngsters need a stimulating environment for learning, as this enables the formation of new brain connections. The sequence of quick moving images, wide spectrum of colours and music in animations is very stimulating for a child and this can boost brain organisation.
Furthermore, it is thought that children who watch good-quality and well-told animations are more expressive, empathetic and emotionally intelligent. Mood and tone are immediately conveyed through images, sounds and music, enabling children to quickly empathise, as well as observe the consequences of negative and positive actions. They can reflect on what is seen as fitting and appropriate behaviour, which in turn develops their understanding of social norms and customs. Children can also play out and think through any threatening or potentially dangerous scenarios conveyed on screen, in the comfort and safety of their homes.
Studies have also shown that in younger children, watching animations can improve information processing speed. They are exposed to vibrant and varied scenes, images of beautiful natural landscapes, symbolism and imagination. Children process all of this, which assists their understanding of reality, perception and information management and organisation.
Now let’s explore the importance of animations based on Sikhi. Not only do children get the benefits listed above but a door to their rich history also is opened.
When ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ was released in 2014, it was met with critical acclaim but more importantly, it ignited a zeal and passion for Sikhi in youngsters. Animated movies can reach the unreachable: those who dislike reading (or struggle to), those whose parents have gaps in their own knowledge of Sikh history and those who are affected by language barriers between them and older generations. The rousing story depicted the sacrifices of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s four sons, as well as shining the spotlight on key values that go hand-in-hand with Sikhi. The Sahibzaade remained steadfast and courageous in the face of tyranny, were unwavering in their principles and displayed a faith so unshakeable, it brought tears to your eyes. I have heard countless anecdotes from families, telling of the immense pride that was instilled in their children. The fact that ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ became the highest grossing animated movie to be produced in India is indicative of a thirst for animations depicting Sikh history.
What’s more, when ‘Bhai Taru Singh’ came out in 2018, it was an opportunity for youngsters to learn about an honourable and pious saint who lived a virtuous life. While visually stunning, the narrative taught children about powerful yet sweet speech, sewa and sacrifice. They were also exposed to the importance of altruism and truthful living; such tenets are the bedrock of the Sikh faith and the medium of animation is an engaging platform from which to teach this.
Moreover, on the horizon is Nihal Nihal Nihal Productions’ breath-taking animated movie about the largely untold story of Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. Youngsters, especially girls, need look no further for a female superhero from the pages of Sikh history. ‘Motherhood: The Journey of Mata Sahib Kaur’ will depict the jaw-dropping story of a leader, warrior, humanitarian and selfless devotee of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
So why do animations matter? Apart from numerous benefits for the brain, emotional intelligence, confidence and creativity, they form a bridge that connects youngsters to history. The lure of devices, social media and the culture of the west makes it ever harder for families to anchor their children in Sikhi. Animations allow Sikh history to be presented in a compelling manner, while paving the way for knowledge and pride. They also cultivate morals and principles that develop character, reminding everyone about the teachings of the Gurus.
Do not underestimate the power of animation, especially when it connects countless adults and youngsters with awe-inspiring history.
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