Directed by: Ashvin Kumar
Starring: Julfuqar Ali, Sushil Sharma, Megnaa Mehtaa
things come in small packages! India’s only Oscar hope this year,
Ashwin Kumar’s ‘ Little Terrorist’ is a poignant little cinematic
triumph that was made with a skimpy budget of 15,000 pounds. It was
shot in five-and-half-days in December 2003 in a remote village of
‘Little Terrorist’ is written, directed and co-produced by Ashwin Kumar, son of Indian fashion designer Ritu Kumar.
character Jamal aka ‘Little Terrorist’ is played by Salim, a street
child from the 'Salaam Balak' Trust, which was established by film
maker Mira Nair after the success of her film ‘Salaam Bombay’. The role
of the compassionate schoolteacher, Bola is played by Sushil
Sharma, a clerk in the Delhi electrical supply company, who
has dabbled in the Delhi theater scene.Meghna Mehtaa, a student of
Vasant Valley School, New Delhi, also plays an important part in the
film. Costumes for the movie are done by Ritu Kumar, Ashwin’s mother.
Terrorist is the story, told with minimum fuss and fanfare, of a
Pakistani Muslim boy who accidentally crosses the landmine riddled
Pakistani-Indian border. Hounded by the Indian Paramilitary as a
terrorist, he takes refuge in the kind heart and house of an old
orthodox Hindu teacher, Bhola. Typical prejudices and
biases about Muslims remain an obstacle in the relationship
between Bhola and the boy.
-Ultimately, humanity triumphs over prejudice when Bhola risks his own
life to help Jamal cross the border again. This symbolic story of hope
is a tale of human solidarity conquering all artificial boundaries.
This reviewer's favorite moment in the film - the reunion of the son with his mother.
Kumar's next film is full-length feature tentatively called "The Forest" and will star Irfan (Maqbool) Khan.
You can watch the film by logging on to www.wahindia.com and following the instructions posted.
Other awards won by 'Little Terrorist' include,
1st prize for Short Films Montreal World Film Festival
* Qualifies for Academy Awards for the Best Short Film
* One of 12 shorts out of 3000 selected for Manhattan Short Film Festival
* In competition - Flanders Film Festival, Asiana Film Festival, Chicago International Children's Film Festival.
Official Selection - Telluride Film Festival, London Film Festival,
Bangkok Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Palm Springs International
Short Film Festival, Sao Paulo Short Film Festival.
Indians, in the past, only Satyajit Ray (Lifetime Achievement) and
Bhanu Athiya (Best Costumes - Gandhi) have received the Oscar , while
Mira Nair (Saalam Bombay), Ashutosh Gowartikar (Laagan), Mehboob Khan
(Mother India) have been nominated to the Best Foreign Film Category
and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, nominated for Best Short Film.