|HOME | US EDITION | MOVIES|
January 13, 2000
How John Malkovich God-Fathered Sivan's The Terrorist
A P Kamath
Nearly a year after it opened at a number of North American film festivals, cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan's The Terrorist opens in New York on Friday at the Screening Room.
The movie's distributor, Phaedra Cinema, is hardly spending anything to advertise the film.
But a long article in The New York Times last Sunday about the movie's discovery at the Cairo International Film Festival in 1998 and the long drawn out efforts to find a distributor for the film in North America has buoyed the distributor.
With good word of mouth, the movie could find small audiences in a dozen American cities. Movies with desi themes distributed in mainstream cinemas in the past three years in America have met with varying degrees of success. Mira Nair's critically drubbed Kamasutra grabbed a lusty $ 4 million and went on to be a bigger hit on video. Deepa Mehta's Earth, running in smaller cities, has grossed an impressive $ 500,000 but My Son the Fanatic from British director Udayan Prasad was a big disappointment.
Actor and director John Malkovich, who wrote The Times article about The Terrorist has also presented the film.
He recollects in the article how, by the time three-fourths of the festival was over, he had been so fatigued, mostly because of the poor quality of films, he was falling asleep for most part.
Then came The Terrorist, loosely woven around the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
'Less than three minutes into the film, my associates on the jury had become uncharacteristically quiet,' Malkovich notes.
Last fall, Malkovich got a call from one of the film's producers if he could present it, and add to its stature, so that some North American distributor would want to release it.
Malkovich knew that even with his name attached, there was no automatic guarantee of finding a distributor for the film.
And it so happened it took Malkovich and producer Mark Burton several months to find a distributor who, though small compared to the likes of Miramax and FineLine Features, was fanatical about the film.
There are a lot of wonderful things to recommend the movie to the audiences, Malkovich notes.
'The film is most elegantly photographed,' Malkovich wrote in The Times. Despite costing $ 50,000, the film had the 'lush' look usually acquired by spending millions of dollars and involving a crew of 200 'who get to wait six or seven hours for every shot so that filmgoers can see the next instalment of genius of the Tuscan sunset.'
Malkovich, whose performances in such films as mainstream films as Con Air and artistic ventures as Of Mice and Men have won him worldwide raves, also noted in the article that The Terrorist had 'an absolutely hypnotic performance by a young actress called Ayesha Dharkar, whose presence graces nearly every frame.'
He hopes the movie will be seen by a considerable number of people. 'Of course, it won't make a fortune,' he adds, perhaps remembering the movie, Being John Malkovich in which he stars has made about $ 20 million and is ending its run soon. Though the $ 3 million movie is already profitable, there are many who believe that given the critical acclaim it has received, it should have made much more.
But works of merit, he suggests, should not be judged solely and irrevocably 'by the cage one can see in every symbol of every dollar sign.'
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK