Ananda~An Ode to Joy Story

Ananda~An Ode to Joy
Directed by John Devaraj
Production; 128 minutes (2010)
DVD; Rs. 500 / Book; Rs.200

Ananda~an Ode to Joy is a biographical work on street kids. Ananda, having been sent out of school worked as a tender coconut chopper forced into this job by his drunken father. Unable to do his homework, he is battered by his teacher. He runs away from school. Joins a bar and restaurant, learns drinking and smoking from his adult customers.

He sees his father among all the drunks; one day he smashes a glass of alcohol on the ground gets kicked out of his job. As he is walking away, he sees a petty shop, He looks at the sweets and is going for it when he sees the cash box open. He grabs as much change as he can, when the man shouts “thief, thief…”, he runs and runs but gets caught. He is jailed. He becomes a confirmed thief. When released, he meets a gang of street kids, and they share their histories.

Ananda has now a veteran of many thefts spots a box n the compound. of a small auxiliary production shed He sneaks to the sleeping security man .Grabs and runs He is chased by the security who then calls the police Ananda puts the box down and examines it, They are real empty brass bullet shells meant for guns It was an auxiliary unit of an ammunition factory.

Ananda sells the bullets for its brass value As he walks across a grave yard, a rival gang bashes him up and grabs all his money. He is subsequently arrested.

When he comes out of the jail Ananda realizes crime does not pay. He tries to change his friends through dance, art music. He changes fist fighting feuds to artistic challenges, dancing, sports, drumming, stilt walking, painting, rock climbing. Soon a beautiful culture of freedom and liberation is discovered. As they are moving on in life, they meet a sculptor who is turning a stone into a beautiful figure of art. He exposes them to Art and a philosophy of the world. He helps them to think and makes them see the world better.

They are now cycling and enjoying a new found freedom and they are seeing places. On Republic Day, 26th January, they visit a air show of the Nation. They joining the thronging thousands and shocked to see a whole lot of guns, war planes, blatant display of killing instruments.. The scene in frightening! Bullets and missiles and every shape and size ready to kill. Half a million people are applauding and cheering the thrilling flying machines.

They are angry. As the planes go up and down, they are catching them in the sky and breaking them.
There is flashback of their lives. The scene is frightening. Bullets and missiles and every shape and size ready to kill. Half a million people are applauding and cheering the thrilling flying machines They want to change this! No money for schools, all the money for war.
As they return they stop near a factory and workers agitating for better wages It is a spring factory making springs for AK47 guns. A young trade union woman leader is talking about war and welfare, Education against war, guns versus butter. She is talking about globalization, the impact on the climate the energy spent on human destruction Ananda is listening intently and is motivated . Ananda gets on top of the wall and makes a passionate speech He demands Tell me friends “Who is the greater criminal is it me that stole empty bullet shells for its brass value for my empty stomach or those make real killing instruments, the merchants of death; fill their purses with money by the killing of innocent children? As they are walking down a Botanical garden they see a young woman making dance movements. They are awed with her movement they befriend her and learn that she is from Hiroshima. They appeal to her to teach them dancing. She shares her experience of being from Hiroshima the historic city where the first atom bomb was dropped. They are taken on an intense and deep journey of the effects and aftermath of a nuclear war. They go into a trance of war coming out of it very determined to change it. They decide to free all working children from toil. They want to express this Art music and Dance. To produce a culture of liberation. The Bornfree Art school is born free!
And they become talented Artists. Painters dancers mathematicians yearning for knowledge and a new found freedom Students Gaja has become a Gymnast. Santhosh is Moon walking with his horse, Prashanth is drumming .Kiran is sculpting. Ananda and Durga are dancing to Beethoven’s 9th symphony Ode to Joy.