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Youngest director features street kids

Nine?year-old Kishan HR?s film captures the life of an orphan boy.
By Agence France-Presse | None, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2006 06:54 PM IST

It's a tough life for Kishan HR. There's no time for cricket, studying or the other pursuits of a normal nine-year-old - not when you're yelling at actors and directing your first movie.

Child prodigy Kishan is in charge of his first film entitled C/o Footpath (Care of footpath), the story of an orphaned boy who wishes to go to school.

Despite the director's tender age, he has managed to lure well-known Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff on to the set, who has more than 125 films to his name and worked with some of the industry's biggest names.

Shroff, who agreed to play the part of a politician for free, appears with India's award winning actress Tara for the film being shot in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. It is almost 80 per cent complete and set for release in April this year.

"One day when I was travelling in my car and I saw some street children selling newspapers," says Kishan. 

"I asked Daddy why they were selling papers and he said they had no parents and therefore they needed to support themselves.

"I was amazed by this and then I wrote a short story about their lives."

Kishan, from an affluent family background, is not new to movies or acting.

The nine –year-old Kishan HR’s C/o Footpath describes the life of an orphaned boy who wishes to go to school.

Prior to taking on the director's role, Kishan acted in 24 Indian regional films and more than 1,000 television serial episodes.

He will also appear in front of the camera, on top of the cast list, for his latest project.

His favourite actors are superstars like Hollywood action hero, now California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan.

"When I thought of direction, I started observing other directors in whose films I had acted earlier," he says.

"I learnt a lot of direction on the sets while acting. Later, my parents bought books and DVDs from Hollywood institutes and these were very helpful.

"It is not tough directing established stars. I explain to them the shots that I have in mind and they listen to me. They give their suggestions and we incorporate it into the film."

Kishan's father, a revenue officer in Bangalore, adds: "He had seen the use of the camera while he was acting and he knew how a shot is taken and how the film is made.

"One day he simply came with his plan and we (as parents) made a decision to go ahead with his plans."

Shailaja HR, Kishan's mother, is investing Rupees 7.5 million to produce the 135-minute movie. The multi-lingual movie will be made in Hindi, Kannada and Tamil.

The film also has its own website. Under a report, tagged somewhat immodestly 'Little master, wonder kid Kishan' he recounts how he was surrounded by television crews and photographers and was even followed into the toilet by the media while on set.

Kishan hopes to be recognised as the world's youngest director in cinematic history.

The Guinness Book of Records currently lists Sydney Ling as the youngest person to direct a professional feature film. Ling was thirteen in 1973 when he directed a Dutch film Lex the Wonderdog.

Kishan's greatest thrill would be to see the movie become successful and hopes the film will have a positive effect on the children in the slums.

"The motto of this film is to get better living conditions for slum children and to improve their educational opportunities," Kishan says.

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