Anusha Yanam is a proud 14-year-old filmmaker, and why shouldn’t she be. The youngster from a small town called Ichoda in Telangana’s Adilabad directed a film on caste discrimination – and Dosth was one of the 14 films screened at the recently held International Children’s Film Festival India, held in Hyderabad, under the ‘Little Director’ category.
Dosth is a 11-minute film about two friends – Srilatha and Suvarna – who are from different social backgrounds. Srilatha comes from a marginalised community and Suvarna comes from a privileged community. The story is about whether Srilatha and Suvarna’s friendship can withstand the caste and class differences. It was one of the 14 films shortlisted for screening from a total of 179 entries from 30 countries.
In conversation with TNM, Anusha, who herself comes from a marginalised community, says she never dreamt that her film would be screened at an international film festival. “I never anticipated such a huge success,” Anusha says.
In the media centre set up at IMAX theatre, one of the venue for the film festival, the board with news clippings of the film event is totally dominated by Anusha. Thrilled at seeing her photos, she asks her escort, Sushma, “How can I take these news clippings with me?”
Anusha studies in Class 10 at the Tribal Welfare School, Ichoda in Adilabad where students come from marginalised communities. Among the 450 students, she is the first student to ever participate in an International film festival.
Talking about Dosth she shares, “Dosth is a film about caste discrimination. This film is reflective of rural villages, where caste discrimination is still prevalent.”
The confident teenager says she decided to make a film on caste because, “Through my films I want to make people aware of the evil practice of caste so that they can acknowledge it and annihilate caste.”
So far, Anusha has directed two films – Thillu Gadi Veera Gaadha and Dosth.
The little director says that she’ll continue to make films on social issues. “While we were shooting the film, it was such a painstaking job. It was really frustrating, although the shooting happened for just three days. However, now, after realising that the film is making waves, I feel overwhelmed and want to continue making films, particularly films on caste and other social issues,” she says.
So what got Anusha into filmmaking? She credits a workshop organized by RS Praveen Kumar, an IPS officer and Secretary of Telangana Residential Educational Society.
“I took part in Swaero Stars 2017, which offered several workshops. I chose the direction department, and made these films,” she says.
“I want to thank Praveen sir on this occasion, and also my friends – Aravind, Anuvya, Sunil and Poojitha – who helped me make the film,” she adds.
The young girl’s next ambition is to write the stories for her own films. “Dosth was written by Bijju and Manoj (her mentors). But in future I want to write my own stories,” she says.