After being named the Best Child Actor at the New York Indian Film Festival, children’s film Gattu’s (2011) lead actor, Samad Mohammad, received another pleasant surprise. Director Rajan Khosla and the crew have gifted him a one-year scholarship for his education and have got him admitted to an English-medium school (St Gabriel’s in Roorkee).
Khosla says, “For the film, we had scanned 12 schools, and short-listed four kids in Roorkee. The school we shot in happens to be Samad’s, but is operational only till the fifth standard. Now that he has to go the sixth, we requested St Gabriel’s, the most prestigious institution in Roorkee, to admit him.”
Produced by the Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI), the film has now been picked by Rajshri Films for distribution and will rele
ase on July 20.
Gattu, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, is about a nine-year-old boy who works in a waste paper factory.
He, however, spends his time flying and chasing kites. How he overcomes the odds to beat the champion kite, ‘kaali’, and become the winner in his village is the story the film explores.
Ask Khosla if the producers intend to award Samad further scholarships for higher education and he says, “Right now, the crew has pooled in money for his studies for a year, but we are looking for sponsors to get him a full scholarship. His father works as a shopkeeper. The family will need resources to continue his education. Whether the producers will fund it or not is a question the CFSI can answer.”
Ahead of Gattu’s India release, the makers have decided to make a promotional video for the film too. Rajan says, “We’re shooting a music video with the kids. Shubha Mudgal is recording the song about an orphan and his missing mother. We hope it will help the film get a good opening in India.”