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9 Year Olds Bags Award for A Film

"It is incredibly a simple film, but has a lot of emotions,” said Rani on the subject of her award-winning short film, Phoolwati Amma. Shweta, who co-directed with Rani, also said the film is deep with emotion. Tasked with confining their school's legacy, the nine year olds decided to feature Phoolwati, their school's sweeper for 33 years. The effort won them the second prize for direction in the Little Directors group at the freshly completed 18th International Children's Film Festival in Hyderabad. For Rani and Shweta, students of South Delhi Municipal Corporation's primary school in New Chaukhandi, west Delhi, the award is a life-changing experience. They enjoyed their five-star bed in Hyderabad ("we jumped a lot on it") and the dishes whose names they have forgotten, but their best memories are of conquering fears, addressing the crowds and being interviewed by people. The film was chosen out of just about 600 entries from across the world. "Our first response was of disbelief. For us it was a very gigantic platform and we were extremely happy with the fact that our film was chosen in the Little Directors category,'' said Veena Gandhi, principal of the school. For the project, an MCD and Intach initiative, the girl’s first thinking of a tree and a room that predated the school as subjects before settling on Phoolwati. "We asked our teacher whether a person can be part of heritage. She said yes, so we determined to feature Phoolwati Amma. She had been here for 33 years and was retiring from service. She did a lot for the school and respected us all,'' said Rani, whose parents are every day laborers. Lauding the girls, Manish Gupta, commissioner, South Corporation, said, "These children might not have basic facilities, but have dreams and a craving to do a bit innovative". The girls are previously on to their next project, a film on Chhath Puja.

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