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Indian short to be screened at Cannes

An Indian short on child soldiery readies to screen at Cannes' Short Film Corner even as it’s nominated for Nice International Film Festival

Starting May 11, all roads will lead to the French Riviera as the crème de la crème from the film fraternity will come together to laud the best of world cinema at the coveted Cannes Film Festival. Joining them will be filmmaker Amit Khanna, who made his feature debut with Tutiya Dil in 2012. The writer-director will present a 22-minute short, An Untold Story Of Paperboats at the Short Film Corner on May 20. “Since the duration exceeds the competition criteria of 15 minutes, it’s an out-of-competition screening. It’s been a dream to attend Cannes, and I look forward to explore the buyers’ market, the workshops and meet filmmakers from around the world,” says the 32-year-old, who has directed 14 short films, besides writing the fiction TV show, Roomies and recently, directing and acting in a web series, All About Section 377.

                                                                                                                                                               A still from An Untold Story Of Paperboats
A still from An Untold Story Of Paperboats

Produced by Neeru Khera of The Creative Gypsy, the film is set in the world of child soldiering. “It’s based on true stories and an issue that is often brushed under the carpet in our country. The film is about a school boy from West Bengal, who falls in a Naxalite trap. It follows his life in the camp and how it changes drastically, and also affects those who are related to him.”

Darshan Gurjar on set in Bahadurgarh village near Delhi
Darshan Gurjar on set in Bahadurgarh village near Delhi

The film was shot over three days last year in Bahadurgarh village, near Delhi. It features Darshan Gurjar in the lead. “I spotted Darshan in Gunday where he played the young Ranveer Singh. The rest of the casting was done from the village. We cast over 200 local children in the film,” informs the director, adding, “The shoot process was challenging since we were working with village kids, who had no experience in front of the camera. We faced rains during the shoot and the action sequences were physically gruelling too.”

Amit Khanna
Amit Khanna

The film has also been nominated in the in-competition short film category at Nice International Film Festival in south of France, where it will be screened on May 11. “We are excited as this year, Nice has a record number of entries from around the world and our film has made it,” says Khanna, who leaves for the festival on May 9. The nomination comes on the heels of him being honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to the world of fashion photography. “It’s the first time that a figure in the field of fashion has been honoured,” he concludes.

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