name = The Terrorist
image_size = 100
caption = Movie poster for "The Terrorist"
Ayesha Dharker K. Krishna Sonu Sisupal Vishwas Anuradha
Rajamani Sonu Sisupal
A. Sreekar Prasad
released = flagicon|India
runtime = 95 min
language = Tamil
imdb_id = 0169302
"The Terrorist" ("Theeviravaathi" - original Tamil title) is an
Indian filmdirected by Santosh Sivan. The film portrays a period in the life of a nineteen-year-old woman, Malli ( Ayesha Dharkar), sent to assassinate a leader in South Asiathrough a suicide bombing. It stars Dharkar, K. Krishna and Sonu Sisupal.
The film is in Tamil, and is easily read as a commentary on the assassination of
Rajiv Gandhi, allegedly by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(Tamil Tigers). Released in 1998, the film was shot in 15 days, with natural lighting, on a budget of $50,000.
John Malkovichfirst saw the film at the 1998 Cairo International Film Festivaland subsequently adopted the film as a kind of post-facto executive producer (the reissued film's titles read "John Malkovich Presents".) Roger Eberthas included the movie in his list of Great Movies [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050717/REVIEWS08/507170302/1023] . Ebert concludes his review with this line "Every time I see the film, I feel a great sadness, that a human imagination could be so limited that it sees its own extinction as a victory."
Inspiration for the film
May 21, 1991, Rajiv Gandhiwas campaigning in favour of a UCPI candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu, when he was assassinated by a suicide bomberin the Indian town of Sriperumbudur, near Madras.
The suicide bomber
Thenmuli RajaratnamA.K.A Dhanu is widely believed to be have been a LTTE member. Dhanu was a cousin of Shivarasan, the supposed mastermind of the assassination.
This assassination marked the first high profile use of the
suicide vestnow used by suicide bombers the world over. ( Palestinianterrorists are alleged to have taken the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.) Dhanu wore the belt bomb with the explosive material in her lower back region and the power pack, two switches and the circuitry in front.
Santosh Sivan, a well-known cinematographer, wanted to make a film on terrorism and about a terrorist, he chose the above events as the inspiration for his story.
The film is not a direct biography of Dhanu, as she had a whole troupe working with her, as backup in case she failed.
*"Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism" by
Robert Pape, Random House (May 24, 2005), ISBN 1-4000-6317-5
* [http://www.terrorist-thefilm.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.santoshsivan.com/eng_mem1.htm Santosh Sivan on low budget filmmaking]
* [http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/jan/13us2.htm How John Malkovich God-Fathered Sivan's The Terrorist]
* [http://www.india-today.com/jain/ Interim Report of the Jain Commission of Inquiry into the Assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi]
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