What’s the best way to say well done, keep it up?

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: The wikipedia entry says he was born to Shrikanth and Sri Shyla in 1996. Since the age of four, he has acted in 23 films and 1,000 episodes of a TV show.

At 10, he directed a full-length feature film into the Guinness Book of Records. And at 12, which is how old Master Kishan Shrikanth (in pictures) is today, his C/o Footpath has bagged the Golden Lotus for the best children’s film at the 54th national film awards.

All very creditable stuff.

Standing ovation, please, and an equally big round of applause to his parents.

How should a State Government recognise and reward a young star such as this one? (Remember, he is 12.)

Should it pick up all his school and college bills? Should it pull out all stops to help him make more films and realise his full cinematic potential? Should it help him go abroad and do a major course in film making from one of the great Universities? Should it lobby to get him on to the children film festivals and juries so that his voice is heard? Should it use him as a brand ambassador to get more Kannadiga children interested in film making? Should it help him meet Spielberg and Soderbergh? Etcetera.

Yes, it should, but that’s the kind of silly, boring suggestions that silly, boring intellectuals with nothing better to do would come up with.

Our politicians, on the other hand, with their finger on the pulse of the people think outside the box of silly, boring ideas.

Kishan and his proud parents called on B.S. Yediyurappa at the Vidhana Soudha yesterday, to congratulate the new chief minister and convey the good news of the national award. The CM doubtless remarked on the happy coincidence of Kishan bagging the Swarnakamal so soon after the kamal ki party had come to power.

And, as a token of appreciation,

Yediyurappa said the Cabinet had decided to allot a 60X40 site in Bangalore to the child prodigy…. The site would be allotted through the Bangalore Development Authority.

This might seem like we are pulling down a prodigy (we are not). This might seem like we are questioning the divine wisdom of god’s own government (how dare we). This might seem like we are jealous like those crabs (keep guessing). But is a 60×40 site in Bangalore for a 12-year-old the only way the “State” can say “shahbash, well done, keep it up”?

Thankfully, Kishan’s appa and amma didn’t tag him along to the Reddy Brothers, or they might have donated a small mine in Bellary while simultaneously giving him permission to use their spare helicopter for shooting aerial shots—for free, for life.

Still, a house-site as a reward for a boy who has not even entered his teens shows the ridiculous real-estate mindset that has gripped this State, especially the “adults” who persuaded, pressured, cajoled and convinced the government to do so.

(Notice, also, that no such 60×40 announcement has come in the case of the other three national award winners from Karnataka this year, T.S. Nagabharana, B. Lingadevaru, or R. Dhanaraj, although one of them might already have been the beneficiary of a 50×80 or two a long time ago.)

Obviously, it makes good sense for Kishan and his parents to make the most of today. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for Kishan’s talents, or for them? So, they would be foolish to look a “G” category gifthorse in the mouth, given Bangalore’s land rates.

(And if dozens of Bangalore’s journalists and “journalists” have secured similar largesse for a few helpful inches, then we shouldn’t grudge 2,400 square feet.)

Obviously, the modern maharajas should also take care of artists and artistes. If their basic needs are covered, it will enable them to concentrate on their core competencies. At least that’s the theory because the pavements are littered with the specks of fallen stars.

Still, is a roof above his head a crying need for Kishan at this juncture?

Is this how we should “provide encouragement”?

Will it motivate him to do better?

And what will he tell teacher if he misses a day a school: “Taarsi haakastha-idde, miss?”

(The bigger scam in the chief minister’s announcement is sanctioning 2.5 acres valued at Rs 16 crore at Sri Kanteerava Studios for a Raj Kumar memorial, but that’s another, bigger story.)

Photographs: BBC (left), Karnataka Photo News

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