Shyam G. Menon

Mumbai, Feb. 5

ASHVIN Kumar, whose short film Little Terrorist is the sole Indian work to be nominated at this year's Oscars, wants to focus on full-length feature films now.

He is already working on a Hindi film called Forest, cast in the thriller mode. His first film, Road to Ladakh, will also be made into a longer version, the producer-director said during an interaction with journalists here recently.

"It was a means to an end. Hereafter, I am going to be making features," he said of his journey which began with short films.

Kumar's aim right from the beginning has been to be an international filmmaker from India, for which an initial body of work in the short-film mould appeared the right strategy.

Alongside, efforts are afoot to secure a theatrical release for the 15 minute-long Little Terrorist at cinemas in Mumbai and Delhi. Kumar said he is also pursuing the possibility of telecasting the short film, which is based on the story of a little boy, who while chasing a cricket ball, accidentally crosses into India from Pakistan. Wanting to make the film, Kumar had posted his idea on a Web site only to receive at least 25 applications for each of the five-six positions he advertised for his crew. Many of those who ended up working on the Little Terrorist were foreign professionals doing so for the love of filmmaking and commitment to the script.

He hopes the film does well at the Oscars. Unlike in some of the other categories at the Academy Awards, jury members have to watch all short-listed films in the short-film segment. Kumar himself has seen Wasp, one of the films competing with Little Terrorist.

As he moves into the bigger league, Kumar said of his upcoming projects: "I don't believe in making films that people don't want to watch." If the script demands it he may do a Bollywood-style film. But he adds, "Bollywood has smothered every other voice and as a result, the audience."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 6, 2005)
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