Aiming for the stars

Flying High

Nineteen-year-old Shriya Dinakar is perhaps the youngest director in the Kannada film industry. Her debut release ‘Billion Dollar Baby’, which has hit screens today, delves into a host of issues that directly or indirectly impact our lives.

The title itself has been finalised after much thought. “National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends not less than one billion dollars per astronaut. The story traces the life of astronauts and their contribution to the world. It also explores the life in a city — traffic management, global warming, climatic changes and its many effects,” says Shriya.    
 The movie seeks to understand how Bangalore has transformed and how the once beautiful city is being turned into a concrete jungle of sorts. “I remember as a child, I used to wait for the month of May to arrive. Back then, Summer brought with it warm sunshine and the City always wore a very bright look.

But today, it burns to step out into the sun. The warmth is missing literally and figuratively,” she adds. 

Clogged roads and mismanaged traffic are other issues that have been dealt with in the movie. “I take an hour to drive to college and most of our urban spaces are being transformed into concrete jungles. Sprucing up infrastructure is a good thing but at what cost?” she wonders. 

The movie is more educative than entertaining. “It captures art, science and issues that people can relate to. It is a movie that all parents must watch with their children. Today, there are parents who want to do many things for their children but don’t have the time or resources. The movie addresses that issue as well,” she states.

Talking about how she got interested in space and aeronautics, Shriya confesses that her fascination for the moon began as a child. “My mother would feed me, point at the moon and  tell me that I should go up there someday. The many markings on the moon were intriguing. That’s how it all began,” she notes.

   She points out that she has completed five of the 16 levels of training, stipulated by NASA and flew a microlight Russian aircraft and a Cessna aircraft when she was barely 11. “That was the best moment. I felt like a bird in the skies and went sky diving much later. Both these experiences have made me a stronger individual,” she adds.  

Shriya is currently pursuing her second-year medicine at ESI Medical College. “While films will happen on the side, I hope to specialise in space medicine some day and be the first woman to set foot on Mars,” she sums up. 

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