Ashik Jinu: Youngest film director in India

Social media, boon to showcase talent to world

Cinema

October 11, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Ashik Jinu: Youngest film director in India

Ashik Jinu directing his commercial movie Eva, with his father Jinu Xavier Edapilly (Photo: Ashik Jinu)

Filmmakers from around the world are using social media as an effective tool to express, experiment and learn focusing to spread social messages and awareness through their creativity.

During the lockdowns induced by the Covid-19 pandemic since beginning of last year, social media has seen a boom not just in consumption of content, but also production, allowing thousands of new creators to join the long list of digital content producers, many of whom saw their works go viral in their home country and often far beyond the borders as well.

One of the most popular kinds of content uploaded and watched on various social media platforms are short films whose numbers have grown multi-fold in a matter of months.

One of them that is making news all over is Pashi, a film lasting barely 90 seconds, that depicts the life of a homeless family. The film, made in 2019, went on to win the award for Best Director at the Travancore International Award 2020 as well as the award for the Best Silent Film and also earned a mention in the Best Child Artist category.

What is special and unique about Pashi is not just the number of awards that it has bagged. It is also directed by a 12-year-old child, Ashik Jinu, who has earned the title of being India’s youngest filmmaker.

Pashi is not the first or the only film made by Jinu. He began his film career even earlier, at the age of 10, when he made another short film Peedika, which was hailed as one of the Kerala’s best consumer awareness films.

Father, my biggest support, says child prodigy

The young director says that his biggest support is his family, and at a very small age, he learnt directing through his father. His father used to be with him in every movie’s direction, so that he could direct his movie independently and it would be easy for him to interact with every artist in the shooting spot.

“It is all because of my parents as it was under their guidance that I learnt film making and they have always supported and encouraged me to do better. Before each film, my father taught me how to do it,” Jinu tells Media India Group.

Ashik Jinu directing his movie independently with artist (Photo: Ashik Jinu)

Jinu’s father, Jinu Xavier Edapilly has been a scriptwriter and filmmaker in South Indian cinema industry for almost 18 years. He has been helping Jinu by scripting all his movies and he also cast himself in the role of negative lead in Eva, another film made by his son, which is yet to be released.

His father has big expectations from the son. “I have experience in this field, I always used to teach him about directing and advantage and disadvantages of this field, so it would be easy for him to understand. In next few years, if we will work together in the same field we will be able to achieve more,” Jinu Xavier Edapilly, the father, tells Media India Group.

“Apart from my son’s awards, I really want him to do his work in a unique manner with his own creativity in every single shot of his films. I always used to teach him how to plan for a movie to direct and shoot.  I wish that through his work he will become an inspiration for many other young artists. I will be his backbone support throughout his journey,” says Edapilly.

Well set on his path

By now, the 12-year-old has directed seven short movies as well as two documentaries. Ashik has also gone on to grab the Universal Record Forum Award for Young Directors in India. “Since my childhood I had the passion to get into cinema as my father is also in this same field. During the lockdown, I got a huge opportunity to develop my interest in directing short movies. I never thought I would get so much support from everyone,” says Jinu, who is a student in grade 7 in Kochi town in Kerala.

Jinu’s short film Philip in 2020, went on to win a special mention award at 2020 Travancore international award for best lead character for his acting and also for best directing.

The youngest director of India gets Universal Records Forum for his first short film “Peedika” at the age of 10 (Photo: Ashik Jinu)

Not just short movies, Jinu has also produced commercial films, including The Colombian Academy (2020), which he says is the longest commercial film and has been sent to several international film festivals.

Encouraged by the response to The Colombian Academy, Jinu has now completed another commercial film, Eva, which is set to be released in October of this year.

The release of his movies has been postponed due to lockdown and will be released in seven languages. Eva is about the revenge of an Excise officer, who lost his family and life in beating up a high mafia gang who lives in the forest and does illegal business.

Jinu says that besides his parents, he has drawn a lot of inspiration from other directors. “My role mode is British- American film director, producer and screenwriter Christopher Nolan. I always admired his work and have seen a lot of his movies. I want to be the best director and produce many movies in the future. I will always try to convey a good message or create social awareness through my movies,” says Jinu.

Jinu’s upcoming film, Prison, a Malayalam drama movie, that has also been scripted by his father, is now waiting to hit the theatre soon in January 2022. Several more projects are queued up for the young director. However, he says that now that schools have reopened, it will cut down the time that he can devote to his passion. Even a simple short film takes more than a couple of days to shoot depending on its script.

“If offline classes resume, then it would be little difficult for me to manage both, but I will equally try give time to focus on my studies as well as in movies,” he says optimistically.

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