After graduating from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in 1984, Santosh Sivan began his film career as a cinematographer. In 1995 he moved into directing himself with the children's film Halo, which was featured in several children's film festivals. He gained international renown for his second feature, The Terrorist in 1998. Malli, a more low-key drama about an impoverished little girl, followed in 1999. Hindi film Asoka is Santosh Sivan's latest directorial venture.
The Terrorist - 1998 - Tamil / Hindi
The Terrorist follows the life-changing journey of Malli, a 19-year-old orphan, who's spent her entire life as a guerrilla terrorist with an unnamed revolutionary militia. Her world is a bloodstained life of violent jungle warfare and executions, an environment where the ruthless unseen militia leaders use young children as weapons of war. The toughest and most reliable solider in her camp, Malli is soon given the militia's highest honour - she is chosen as a suicide bomber. The journey Malli has to take to reach her planned assassination destination has an unintended side effect though. The people she meets along the way afford her a new perspective on life - not only on her own but of theirs as well, and for the first time she begins to question her own loyalties to the only family she has known-the militia.
Direction & Screenplay: Santosh Sivan