Slain Gauri is activist in kids’ film

Slain Gauri is activist in kids’ film

The poster of ‘Summer Holidays’. 

Gauri Lankesh, the journalist who was shot dead last year, appears in a cameo in her sister Kavitha Lankesh’s English-language film Summer Holidays, released on Friday.

Written and directed by Kavitha Lankesh, Summer Holidays is about five children going on a trip, encountering a mystery, and solving it. Prakash Rai and Suman Nagarkar are among the grown-ups in the cast.

“The children encounter a land mafia in the forest and Gauri steps in to talk on behalf of the tribals. It is related to what she was working on. When I was writing the script, I suggested the role to her and she was more than happy to do it,” recalls Kavitha.

Things took a tragic turn when Gauri was shot dead by two bike-borne men on September 5, 2017. Police launched a country-wide manhunt; they have arrested 11 men in connection with the murder. “I couldn’t bear to see the film after she passed away,” Kavitha told DH.

Summer Holidays began as a home production, with her daughter Eesha and nephew Samarjit coming on board to play two of the five adventurous children in the film. But soon it became a full-fledged production. “Most children’s films are made only for the jury or for awards. I used to wonder if kids would really sit down and watch them,” Kavitha said. She got children involved at every stage, discussing each and every scene with them and incorporating their suggestions.

“It is an Enid Blyton kind of story. I enjoyed reading her as a child and my daughter has read her too,” she said. Kavitha, known for more serious fare in films such as Deveeri and Preeti Prema Pranaya, wanted to make a film “where children could have fun”.

When she showed the film to children, she was astonished at their reactions.

“They hooted and screamed in the adventure scenes and broke out into applause when Gauri’s scene came. My mother and I, watching the film with them, were moved to tears,” Kavitha said.

English-language film ‘Summer Holidays’ opened at PVR, Vega City Mall, Bannerghatta Road, on Friday.

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