Enter Roald Dahl's world

Updated: 12 September, 2020 08:17 IST | Jovita Aranha | Mumbai

On the eve of the literary great's 104th birthday, we curated the best books, films and events, and invited two fans to sketch his characters

Caren Pinto (left) and Sneha Rajeev sketch Dahl's iconic characters, Matilda and Willy Wonka respectively
Caren Pinto (left) and Sneha Rajeev sketch Dahl's iconic characters, Matilda and Willy Wonka respectively

From the flamboyant chocolatier Willy Wonka to the entertaining Oompa Loompas, superheroic kids, and sinister witches, Roald Dahl continues to bring fantasy, magic, hope, friendship and heartwarming stories to the lives of children across the globe. On his 104th birthday, two budding artists share their love for Dahl's stories and unforgettable characters.

Thirteen-year-old artist Sneha Rajeev, a class eight student from Podar International School, shares, "Dahl's books became friends to many young readers like me. Reading every book was like diving into a new adventure filled with laughter, tears and suspense. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my favourite. I remember waiting for my golden ticket to go to a chocolate factory to bring back truckloads of mouthwatering chocolates."

For Caren Pinto, the film adaptation of Matilda was her introduction to Dahl's universe as an 11-year-old. "I remember being sad when I saw Matilda being unappreciated by her family and tortured by the wicked principal, but as she used her superpower and taught the mean adults a lesson, I rolled on the floor laughing, wishing I could get telekinetic powers too." Curious, she read the book too. "There was no going back. Roald Dahl remains my favourite author ever since," shares the class eight student from Ryan International School.

Roald Dahl with kids. pic/wikimediacommons
Roald Dahl with kids. Pic/Wikimediacommons

Did you know?

In 2017, Dahl's widow, Felicity revealed that her husband originally wrote Charlie's character as coloured, but after his agent told him that nobody would read it, he was forced to change his race. When the 1971 film adaptation of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, Dahl was quoted as calling it "crummy" in his autobiography, by author Donald Sturrock. Though he eventually came to tolerate the film and acknowledge the "many good things" in it, he never liked it. He was displeased with changes made to the script by director Mel Stuart as well as Gene Wilder's casting as Willy Wonka.


If you think old films have a distinct charm, you'd like Danny DeVito's passion project, Matilda (1996), and also The Witches and The BFG. The BFG is a tale of friendship between a young girl, Sophie, and an outcast non-violent giant. When Sophie's life is at risk, everything changes.

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Classics like Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are must-reads. Yet, don't miss out on Dahl's other literary works like James and the Giant Peach and The Witches. While the Witches tells the story of a young British boy and his witch-hunting grandmother who strike down on child-hating societies of witches who turn kids to mice, James and The Giant Peach revolves around the adventures of an orphaned boy escaping a life of drudgery after discovering a giant magical peach and talking to insect friends.

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If you love musicals, hop on to YouTube to enjoy snippets from different stage adaptations of Dahl's stories. Performed by excellent child actors and backed by a talented orchestra, the 2012 West End production of Matilda the Musical at The Royal Variety Performance, London, with its rendition of When I grow up will tug at your heartstrings.

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Story-Mitr's Dahl-icious party will feature stories, games, fun activities and a Dahl quiz.

On September 13, 6 pm
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First Published: 12 September, 2020 07:27 IST

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