Private Project


Shaanu The Optimist is a poignant story of a nine year old girl, who believes that when she predicts things, they are bound to happen. Submersed in her own world of beliefs and miracles, she enrolls as a kho-kho player in the school, whose talent is recognized and she marches ahead to participate in district level tournament. She is bound to hit a road-block there….

  • K.N.T Sastry
  • K.N.T Sastry
  • Children’s Film Society, India
  • Baby Jhanavi as Shaanu; Master Satwick as Ganapai; Shivajiraja as Father of Shaanu; Madhavi as Mother of Shaanu; Shafi as Kho Kho Coach; Baby Sriya as Gayatri; Vijayalakshmi as Grandma of Ganapai; Chaitra as Class teacher
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Children's Film, Family film
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 35 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2016
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Director Biography - K.N.T Sastry

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.

Jury experience:
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,
o Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus)– National Award - Best Film Critic in 1990
o Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) – National Award - best Book on Cinema in 1994
o Alanati Chalanachitram, -Special Mention for Book, Alanati Chalanachitram, –1998
o Nandi award (Golden Bull) for Best Documentary, Surabhi – 2000
o Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) National Award – for Surabhi, Documentary – 2000. Best ethnographic film
o New Currents Award as Best Asian Film for Tiladaanam (The rite .. a passion) at Pusan International Film Festival, 2002.
o Swarna Kamal – for Tiladaanam (The rite .. a passion) – 2002.
o Golden Nandi Award(Golden Bull) for Tiladaanam
o Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) for Kamli – 2006.
o Nandi Award (Silver Bull) for Best Actress (Kamli) to Nandita Das

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Director Statement

The film was inspired by a real life 9 year girl, who was beaming with optimism, and had unfounded faith in her beliefs. She would believe in God, but that is not a blind belief, as many times her beliefs had come true. Taking off from these incidents, I have spun the game of Kho-Kho which is played in almost all primary and middle schools both in urban and especially in rural schools, but which has not received due recognition as say, Kabaddi. I wove the story by mixing both the beliefs of the child, her obsession with Kho Kho game, and in fact when teachers ridicule her saying that she is built very fragilely for this game, she implores upon the teacher and colleagues that she believes that she would play well; in fact she does, which is proven by her selection to district kho-kho tournament. The discovery of the game, by Shaanu ka Shravani and her colleague Ganapai who dismisses it as a boys’ game, her impleading with teachers and later learning the game the hard way are all brought out in a subtle manner, and the venues for the game are chosen keeping in mind the rural background in which the game is played and therefore in low key.

Her dedication to her friend Ganapai, the family bonds that she has have all been brought up subtly, without trying to put big words in her mouth, and always keeping the dialogues as the children of that age would utter. The final sequence, also gives a kind of moral that belief is not enough, but you must work for achieving your goal.