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India's Only Oscar Nominated Film "Little Terrorist', A Must See!

Chitra Parayath

Directed by: Ashvin Kumar

Starring: Julfuqar Ali, Sushil Sharma, Megnaa Mehtaa

Great 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 Rajasthan.

 ‘Little Terrorist’ is written, directed and co-produced by Ashwin Kumar, son of Indian fashion designer Ritu Kumar.
The 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.

Little 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.

 Spoiler Alert -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.

Among 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.

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