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Juju

Juju is a character in Bengali folk tales. He is synonymous to fear. The sheer thrill that Juju gets out of scaring people, especially little kids is unmatched. In earlier times, when there were intimate story-reading sessions with grandmas, Juju was a star. He felt the fear that he mention of his name evoked in the eyes of the young listeners. However, in the modern times, Juju has no power. He lies asleep in the junkyard. One night, on the New Year's Eve, he wakes up from his slumber. With a pledge to scare whoever he can manage, he goes about on his spook-spree. Juju soon finds himself amidst a crowd of ecstatic and euphoric merrymakers. Rather than managing to scare people, he finds himself taken aback. He makes his way through the crowd and tries to scare some kids, but alas, they refuse to give him any attention. He also has a close encounter with a meal-mascot guy, who stands for everything the world today is all about: being happy and making merry. Juju makes another mistake as he confuses this symbol of capitalism to be one of his own kind (due to similarities in their physical appearance). Belittled by the presence of the mascot guy and the chaos around, Juju tries one last time to scare, but fails. Then, there is a blast and everything comes to an end. All that remains are beeps and electronic sounds and several cellphones that keep ringing, making ''fear'' feel scared.

Film notes

Director's note:

The idea of the film and the intention to make it was probably always there in my mind for quite some time. Being from the capital city, Delhi, one kind of gets used to living under the constant fear of a terrorist attack here and a bomb blast there. In addition to that, having a media background, I was constantly engaged in, as a producer and as a recipient of, gory images of crimes and murders.
I’ve spent a happy childhood...heard many a tales from my parents and grand-parents about kings and queens and adventurous far away lands. Another factor that was common to these stories was: a factor that is common to, perhaps, every story: the evil. In the stories they narrated, the juju, or the demon, was this scary guy with large red eyes, oozing fire from their nostrils. They had long nails to catch their prey and an even longer tongue to gobble up the catch. The character of Juju, was particularly interesting. He wasn’t all black. He was part-evil, part-prankster. Juju stories had this character who liked scaring people because of the thrill it provided him.
When i sat back and recollected all of those childhood stories, the memories and thought of times now... i found that the definition of fear had indeed changed, not just for me or my cousins. Not even only for my city, Delhi. The definition of fear has changed globally. Fear Today is way stronger than Fear Yesterday. My short film, Juju, shot as part of my curriculum at FTII, is an exploration of that fear.

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 6 Oct 2012