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Kishan SS: Kannada Teen Sensation

Kishan SS, the Kannada sensation, directed his first feature film at 9

Published: Feb 12, 2014 07:38:15 AM IST
Updated: Feb 12, 2014 02:05:04 PM IST
Kishan SS: Kannada Teen Sensation

Kishan SS | 18
Actor, singer, film-editor, director


At 18, he describes himself as a genius. You could consider that presumptuous, even arrogant, coming from any other teenager, but not from Kishan. The Bangalore boy has been a familiar name in Karnataka for over a decade now. He started acting when he was four, playback singing at five, professional film-editing by eight. When he directed a full-scale commercial movie at nine, the world began to take notice.

His directorial debut, Kannada film C/O Footpath, was an emotional story of a slum boy trying to get educated. The movie, a commercial success, won critical acclaim and the National Golden Lotus Award for the Best Children’s Film. Kishan has acted in 30 feature films and more than 300 episodes of TV serials. Everyone in Sandalwood (as the Karnataka film industry is often termed) knows him as the boy who features in the Guinness book of records for being the youngest director of a feature film.
Kishan is working on directing his second movie, based on juvenile delinquency. He cannot understand how educated people can lose sight of justice, and demand death for juvenile criminals. Society has to take responsibility for children that are not nurtured properly, he believes.

The movie C/O Footpath 2 is an action film, based on the story of four slum teenagers who are believed to be criminals. Avika Gor, the young Balika Vadhu, plays the female lead.  

Kishan spent two years researching juvenile crime for the movie. “It is this eye for detail that sets him apart from a normal kid,’’ says Shyam Prasad, entertainment editor at Bangalore Mirror. Prasad has been tracking Kishan’s career and says his knowledge of movie-making techniques is very professional.

Like all good Indian teenagers, Kishan is pursuing academics with equal vigour. In a well-publicised case that paves the way for other prodigies, the Karnataka state education department allowed him to study for his Master’s degree in multimedia and animation straight after Class 10. 

Kishan SS: Kannada Teen Sensation
Kishan says his real interest is in 3D cinema and holography. “Much of the work in these areas is being led by directors like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, who are experimenting with and funding new technologies,’’ he says. The subject of stereoscopy (the technique of creating depth in an image) fascinates him far more than plain animation. Once he earns his Master’s, he would like to register for a PhD in optical studies at MIT. “That is where much of the cutting edge work is being done,” he says.

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(This story appears in the 21 February, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Gaurav Gurbaxani

    Very inspirational! great to see such talent being spotted in India..

    on Feb 13, 2014