Shot in Southern India, Santosh Sivan employed mainly non-professional actors. Despite its air of authenticity, The Terrorist is not a true story. However, it was inspired by the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991
The Terrorist was released in America last year to rave reviews and has been nominated in the best Foreign Language category of the Independent Spirit Awards 2000 . The film is in the Tamil language with English subtitles.
Support From John Malkovich
John Malkovich was so impressed by the film when he saw it at the Cairo Film Festival that it has gained his enthusiastic patronage. He says
"I'm honoured to be presenting the film The Terrorist in its American premiere. I first saw the film while I was a member of the jury at the Cairo Film Festival. On a first viewing, I was stunned by the simplicity and elegance of resources, The Terrorist is a testament to the notion that all that's truly needed to make a wonderful film is a story worth telling and a poet at the helm. Santosh Sivan is surely that.
"In Cairo, his direction of The Terrorist gained him not only the prize for Best Director, but also the Golden Pyramid for Best Film. He also co-wrote, edited, and served as cinematographer for the film. His inventive and exacting work gives the images in the film a thrilling and terrible beauty. Most images long ago lost the power to shock, compel, or even merely to hold - his have not.
"The Terrorist also received in Cairo a third major prize - that for Artistic Contribution. It was warded to Ayesha Dharker, the young actress who plays Malli, the leading character and terrorist in question of the film. With her hypnotic beauty, her intense watchfulness and her peerless ability to believe, she is the heart and soul of the film
"With a taut and compelling screenplay, an exemplary cast, and a director of seemingly unlimited potential, The Terrorist is one of the most memorable films I've seen in years".