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Pint form, mega frame

ANAND SANKAR

The confidence that 10-year-old Kishan radiates is staggering. With his film C/O Footpath, he is out there to become the youngest filmmaker-cum-actor in the world



UBER KIDKishan's inspiration for his film came when he saw children on the street with no one to take care of them Photo: K. Gopinathan

Ten-year-old Kishan struck me as something out of the ordinary right from the moment he self-assuredly walked in through the doors of my office. His gait, his outfit, boot cut jeans and a full sleeve black shirt with cuffs folded, added to the confidence his face (oh-so-cherubic!) emanated.

This chit of a boy, I was told, was going to be the youngest filmmaker (gasp!!), not just in India but hold your breath, the world. (Sidney Lang, the 13-year-old U.S. filmmaker presently holds the record.) Here we go again, I said to myself; we have yet another of those "super kids" and voila we have a record.

But with Kishan it turned out to be different. We headed to the terrace for the photo shoot, and his zealous mother gently, in hushed tones, asked him to comb his hair. And like any kid of his age, Kishan obdurately brushed it off , "Bedaa maa," in everyone's hearing, and strode out of the office, ruffling his hair like a mini Rajinikant. The confident swagger, I must admit, made me a tad nervous.

Tryst with the camera

Kishan is in news because he is aiming to become the youngest filmmaker-cum-actor in the world by directing the film C/O Footpath and also starring in it. His tryst with the camera began when his father bought a new handycam when he was two-and-a-half years old. "Daddy used to fix the handycam to the TV and I used to direct myself using the TV. And whenever my dad used the camera I used to act," he recalled.

After the handycam, Kishan modelled for commercials when he was three-and-a-half, and has been a child artiste in 24 films, the first being Grama Devathe, and three mega serials — Mane Mane Kathe, Kathe, and Papa Pandu. He is often called by the nicknames Punda (his character in Papa Pandu) and Twinkle Star.

Kishan got the inspiration for C/O Footpath, taking off on September 15, while travelling with his dad. He saw children selling newspapers, magazines, and begging at Bhashyam Circle. His natural inquisitiveness prompted him to ask why those children were on the roads. "My dad told me then that there was no one to take care of them. I felt the need to do something for them. I organised a vaccination camp but I wanted to do more."

After starting out with a 10-minute story, the idea soon became a full-length film with everything from individual characters to music. The movie now has music by Ravi Dattatreya and also stars B. Jayashree and Sharad Shukla. After completion, it is slated to be screened at an international film festival, to qualify for the record. While is his locale is absolutely down market, a slum near Bidadi, the making itself will be on par with international standards said Kishan as he enthusiastically reeled of on "Hollywood techniques".

International standards

"My movie has two paradigms — eye level and screenplay," he says leaving me puzzled with his technical jargon. "Eye level means the movie is shot with the camera being just three and a half feet above the ground as against the standard five and a half feet. I wanted this change because this is a children's movie and it must be from their perspective. Further the screenplay is divided into Act I, II and III. Act I has the setup with the first plot point at the end, Act II has the pinch points, middle point and the second plot point at the end, while Act III is the solution or climax."

When I asked him to explain the jargon, he narrated how Titanic was shot using the technique he plans to employ, to give the storytelling a certain tempo. These nuances he picked up when he spent time with directors and technicians while acting in his films and serials, and also by reading books from Hollywood.

"My shoots used to be only for two to three hours. After that I used to pepper the technical people with questions. Soon directors started asking me how to shoot some scenes and I used to seriously explain. I was very happy when Arun Prasad uncle actually used one of my ideas in the film Chandu. I felt encouraged."

Isn't his going to be a lost childhood? Kishan's mother Shreeshaila choose to take this as a question on her son's education. "He is of the top three in his class even though he misses so much school. He studies and does homework on the set. We have always wanted him to be treated normally," she said.

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