SHAANU – THE OPTIMIST SHAANU – THE OPTIMIST
Shaanu aka Shravani, and her schoolmate, Ganapai indulge in a number of escapades, like Shaanu challenging the boy to swim in the Godavari waters, stealing the jackfruit from their own garden, going away in the cycle and hurting themselves, etc.
This optimistic girl is a dreamer of sorts, taking her beliefs to the level of obsession, and especially when her predictions like declaring her aunt will deliver only a girl baby, come true; her optimism grows, and she becomes self confident.
One day, She watches with her school students playing kho-kho, and starts dreaming of becoming a kho kho player, though she is refused by the kho-kho team leader, even as her teacher comments about her lean and fragile body. Shaanu doesn’t give up hope and pesters the teacher and the team leader, and gets a chance to play. She starts excelling in the game. Meanwhile Ganapai, in a bid to show that he is not to be cowed down, donning the tiger-clothes, jumps into the river, as if answering the taunts of Shaanu, only to get hurt. She takes up the vow of his grand-ma, and collects flowers to perform a pooja to the village deity, and completes it deftly.
In the school the new coach recognizes this girls talent and selects her for the district level tournament. When she was about to leave for nearby town, Rajahmundry, the tournament, her mother is bed-ridden with malaria, and she tells her mother that she would rather look after her than go to the sports tournament. She finally goes with a vow that the moment she wins the trophy, her mother here would be completely cured of malaria. It is this belief which steers her towards the tournament. She even prays that God should look after her till she returns. With twists and turns in the final part of the story, the film is celebration of childhood. Whether she wins the trophy and her mother is cured is the crux of the film.
Picturised in Ainavilli, Amalapuram, Samanasa villages of rural AP, India, it brings out the rural life, their schools, and more importantly the playful moods of the leading kids, Shaanu and Ganapaai (played by Jahnavi and Satwick).
Mr. K N T Sastry is a renowned Indian film critic, turned film director, who has received a number of national and international awards for his various films, documentaries and books.
Associated with a number of English Magazines and English dailies in India, he has worked with Indian Express, Chennai; Hindustan Times, New Delhi, and was for some time Resident Editor of Vijayawada edition of Deccan Chronicle. He strayed first into documentary filmmaking and has made over 20 full length documentaries, besides number of ad films.
His first documentary “Surabhi” received National Award as Best Anthropological documentary. His first feature film later, “The rite .. a Passion” (Tiladaanam) has received worldwide acclaim, and won the New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival, South Korea, in 2002, apart from Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) as Best First feature film of a Director. It also won Best Debut Director Golden Nandi (Golden Bull) Award from the AP government, apart from an award for best makeup.
He has served as a FIPRESCI jury member in the International Film Festivals of Sochi (Russia), and Pusan (South Korea), Kerala; while in 2008 October, he was in Mannheim-Hiedelberg International Film Fetival (Germany) Jury. He was chosen to be on the Jury of Vladivostock International Film Festival.
He was chairman of Jury in 2008, for selection of films for IFFI, Goa, appointed by Government of India. He has been on the Indian Panaroma panel, nine times, and was Chairman of the National Awards Jury, 2004, for Best writing on Cinema. He was also chairman of Eastern Section of films for National award in 2012, and Chairman of Panorama selections, twice. He has served as jury member for the AP State Nandi Awards panel. He was also Chairman of Critics Jury, Childrens’ International Film Festival, Hyderabad in 1997,
- Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus)– National Award – Best Film Critic in 1990
- Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) – National Award – best Book on Cinema in 1994
- Alanati Chalanachitram, -Special Mention for Book, Alanati Chalanachitram, –1998
- Nandi award (Golden Bull) for Best Documentary, Surabhi – 2000
- Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) National Award – for Surabhi, Documentary – 2000. Best ethnographic film
- New Currents Award as Best Asian Film for Tiladaanam (The rite .. a passion) at Pusan International Film Festival, 2002.
- Swarna Kamal – for Tiladaanam (The rite .. a passion) – 2002.
- Golden Nandi Award(Golden Bull) for Tiladaanam
- Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) for Kamli – 2006.
- Nandi Award (Silver Bull) for Best Actress (Kamli) to Nandita Das
Script / Screenplay K N T Sastry
Camera M.J. Radhakrishanan
Editor Sreekar Prasad
Cast Baby Jhanavi , Master Satwick, Shivajiraja, Madhavi , Shafi , Baby Sriya , Chaitra