Veteran filmmaker Vijaya Mulay, who shaped innumerable childhoods with her short film Ek Anek aur Ekta, passed away recently at the age of 98.
When I was young, my grandfather would sing this song ‘Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya’ to me. It explains the meaning of ‘Unity in Diversity’ in truest of sense. More importantly, the song talks about it in such a manner that it can be easily understood by children. The song is a part of the movie Ek Anek aur Ekta and is one of the most important works of the renowned filmmaker Vijaya Mulay, who drew her last breath this Sunday.
Birth And Achievements
Vijaya Mulay was born on May 16, 1921 in Bombay, India and along with being a filmmaker, she was also a film historian, writer, educationist and researcher. She was friends with one of the greatest film makers of 20th century, Satyajit Ray. This influenced her perspective on the Indian cinema to a much wider extent. This also led her to found the Delhi Film Society in 1959. Later on, she also became the Joint Secretary of the Federation of Film Societies. Considering her role in India cinema, she was also asked to head the Center for Educational Technology that focused on making educational movies. These movies were to be broadcasted in 2004 across 2400 villages. She was also honored with the prestigious V Shantaraman Award for her work in documentary film making.
She said that she lived a full and happy life and did not want to be kept alive by a ventilator or anything. Then we brought her home on May 14, and she was with us till May 19. At 4.45 pm, she passed away. She was not in pain, and it was an easy passage. – daughter Suhasini Mulay.
According to Indian Express, her daughter Suhasini Mulay, who is a National Award winning actor, revealed that it was old age which caught up with her. “It was just about old age. She was 98. She had no illnesses of an ageing person. Her blood pressure was fine. Her heartbeat was fine. She didn’t have diabetes or anything like that. But as she grew older, she became weaker and was eating less. She called me on the morning of May 10 and told me that she was not feeling well at all. We took her to Escorts hospital, where she was admitted for four days. She had made it very clear that she did not want anything invasive done to her. She said that she lived a full and happy life and did not want to be kept alive by a ventilator or anything. Then we brought her home on May 14, and she was with us till May 19. At 4.45 pm, she passed away. She was not in pain, and it was an easy passage.”
Mulay was also honored with the prestigious V Shantaraman Award for her work in documentary film making. Her film, the one she’s known for the most, Ek Anekta aur Ekta, won the National Film Award for best educational film.
Ek Anek Aur Ekta
Released in 1974, the 7 minute 18 seconds long short film Ek Anek Aur Ekta is an animated one, which aims at teaching children the importance of unity and diversity and celebrates the powers and pleasures of Anekta Mein Ekta. The film remains her best known work, and won the National Film Award for best educational film and the Best Children’s Film award in Japan. It was the first film from the animation studios of then Center for Education Technology.
If you are a child who grew up in India during the Doordarshan era, then you must have seen this film being played out in the channel. The strong message of unity told in simplistic way, set to a hummable tune and easy lyrics make the song Ek Chiriya Anek Chiriya from this film a classic. However this isn’t Mulay’s only legacy to Indian cinema.
The first film The Tidal Bore was selected as the official entry to the Mannheim Film Festival by the government of India. She also authored the book From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond: India in International Cinema.
Mulay shall forever be fondly remembered by us for not just her contribution to cinema, but for teaching us the important lesson of unity in diversity in such a memorable way that we haven’t forgotten it yet.
Picture Credits- The Indian Express