Kavi – India’s Oscar Hope on Sunday

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This time last year the film on everyone’s lips was Slumdog Millionaire as it took home eight Oscars. With the 82nd Annual Academy awards less than a week away (Sunday March 7, 2010) flying the flag for India this year is Kavi, nominated in the Best Live Action short film category.

The 19 minute fictional film tells the story of a young boy who is forced into a slave like existence working in a brick kiln, unable to play cricket or go to school. Determined to not let his dream die, Kavi does whatever it takes to escape, even if he is not sure of the ultimate outcome.

Director Gregg Helvey explains his motivation to make the film, “I was shocked to learn that 27 million people around the world are enslaved today. As I began to research and understand the extent of modern slavery, I knew that I had to make a movie about it.”

Producer Guneet Monga, who recently co-produced That Girl in Yellow Boots, written by Anurag Kashyap and Kalki Koechlin, says of Kavi, “The entire cast of brilliant actors came on board and we shot the film in Wai, outside Mumbai in 8 days.”

Kavi is played by Sagar Salunke who has worked on Manmohan Mahapatra’s Bits and Pieces, Anurag Kashyap’s Rajuben and now the Oscar-nominated Kavi. He was 13 years old during the production and has since landed a recurring role on an Indian TV serial. Sagar dreams to be a mainstream actor someday, but as of now his studies are his priorities.

Let’s hope India comes home with more Academy gold at Sunday night’s award ceremony.

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