Hidden Gem: Film by a Driver’s 15-Year-Old Son Makes It to Corona Short Film Festival

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Hidden Gem: Film by a Driver’s 15-Year-Old Son Makes It to Corona Short Film Festival

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Creativity, many believe, is a domain of the privileged but a driver’s son from Bihar has shattered that myth. The 15-year-old boy’s three-minute children’s film titled “The Mask” has been shortlisted for the International Corona Short Film Festival.

The short film is about the importance of wearing a mask during the pandemic.

Santu Kumar is the son of a Patna-based driver. He made a film with the help of children from Kilkari, an organisation established by the Bihar government’s education department in 2008 to encourage creativity among underprivileged children. “The Mask” has been directed and scripted by Santu Kumar, featuring four children from Kilkari – Santy Kumar, Rahul Kumar, Jeetu Kumar, and Rahul Raj Gupta. Five days and five children is all it took, for him to make a timely film shortlisted for the International Corona Short Film Festival to be held in Delhi in December.

Speaking to the New Indian Express, Santu Kumar expressed happiness over the selection of his film at the international fest saying that it would inspire him to make more films. He has acted and co-directed some other short films after being associated with Kilkari.

Dr Jyoti Parihar, renowned child rights activist and director of Kilkari, said, “In this film, it has been shown that if we lose our job, then we can still be self-reliant.” She pointed out that Santu was one among many children who expressed their creativity and won laurels for Bihar in film-making streams through support by Kilkari.

The teenager’s accomplishment has been cheered on social media. CEO of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Ashish Chauhan, shared his story. “We are truly fighting the pandemic together and we will win,” he wrote. The message in his film to wear masks to protect oneself from the coronavirus was also appreciated.

Creative expression shouldn’t be restricted by money or social connections, everyone has the right to tell a good story. The immense talent hidden in India’s vast pockets will only be unlocked when we provide them the platform and the tools to justify their potential. Santu Kumar’s story is inspiring, and the message from his film, timely.

Never give up on your ambitions, and always wear a mask.

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