Why I killed Tina (In Mr India)

Good god.  Can you imagine making a film and being responsible for the characters almost 20 years after you have made it ?

I cannot count the number of times that people have stopped me on the streets , and now asked me on twitter or on my blog “why did the little girl Tina have to die ?”

So here is the truth finally. After all these years.  I got cold feet !

There is always a thin line between farce and fantasy.  I was having so much fun shooting the characters of Mr India, with such fine actors, that I thought the film would be turning into a farce.  And films like Mr India cannot turn into a farce, they must be like a fantasy that makes you believe in what is happening, or there will be a rejection from the audience, specially from Children.  There is a sense of emotional involvement and believability that rides through the film.

I looked at Mr India and realized that somehow I had to bring the film back to the ground. Earth it, in a way, so people stay connected to the film in their hearts, and not just in their minds.  If it turned into a farce, the film would just pass by.

So I am afraid I committed the crime of killing Tina. Of course I gave the blame to Mogambo, but I was the guilty one.

And the scene where Tina is in her coffin and all the kids come and kiss her one by one and lay flowers on her body ?  Umm  … another confession to make.  Little Tina could not help laughing all the time.  It was so strange to see the beautiful little girl in a tiny coffin in the graveyard we were shooting the film in –  just burst into peals of laughter every time someone lay a flower over her.

So we decided to wait till she went to sleep. But of course she would not comply.  And with the light getting darker and the producer screaming on my back. I asked her mother what would put her to sleep.  What do you give kids to put them to sleep ?

And yes, I confess, her mother and I gave her a tiny spoonful of that.  And Tina went peacefully to sleep. And something strange happened.

Each kid coming to put a flower on on her, looking like sleeping beauty, but in tiny coffin broke down.  Not acting, but in real. Some of them started to sob.  The Sri Devi started to sob, as did other crew members. And I must admit a let e few tears roll by.  There was something about how beautiful and serene little Tina was looking in that tiny coffin that just affected us all on that day.

If Tina had woken up and seen us all crying that day, she would have just broken into peels of laughter.

39 thoughts on “Why I killed Tina (In Mr India)

  1. Mr. Kapur

    Please make a sequel to Mr. India with Ranbir Kapoor & Anushka Sharma in lead role, having a global theme in a story.

    Vinayak

  2. You are right, it did give the movie a ‘real‘ feel to it because i remember around the same time as this movie release, new delhi started it‘s tryst with terrorism, and one of the first acts of that cowardly act was a bomb blast at a young girl‘s birthday party in a house in G.K. I was 8 yrs old and the innocent me thought that Tina was that girl
    I can NEVER forget that blast or that scene. The association is too strong (deep) in my mind. Oh! and I didn‘t celebrate my birthday that year in remembrance.

  3. Whenever any of our friends remember Mr. India…we all stop at the point….oh remember when Tina dies!!! And then there is a choking silence…i think Tina’s death is the most momentous death in our recent cinema…Anil Bhaaaiyaaaa….

  4. Reading this got me teary…but sir…seriously am surprised that we do not have more such directors in India…I see a few every now and then but I guess u were the only 1 then…kuddos!

  5. I have always been a movie buff and I guess have watched almost every movie out there released in last 20 years including the lesser know parallel fare and even the b-grade with equal delight and till date the death of ‘Tina’ remains one of the most moving scenes captured on screen. I remember having asked a question about the whereabouts of Tina and the little Mini from Masoom in comments on one of the earlier posts.

    Thanks a ton for the revelation and this little story here about the scene. If my memory serves me right, I remember in one of your TV interviews you shared the story about how you gave her a huge page of dialog to deliver when you wanted her to cry in that scene where the kids go hungry. (I hope I am quoting the right context). Please do share more stories from the film.

  6. Yesterday only i watched Mr. India. Your imagination regarding Tina was spot on. After watching movie i had a deep thought that in our country we have all sort of problems (even more & updated one) as in the movie of Mr. India. Just imagining what could have happened if problem solvers like Mr. India exist now-a-days. However, enjoyed the movie and pseudo-presence of Mr. India.

  7. Last night on Zee Cinema they were showing Mr India and when I got to it they were showing that lovely song, “Zindagi ki yahi reet hai…” and then immediately I switched channels– no I do not want to see her die again. It is like a frozen moment and
    God knows in real life one has lived this often enough and yet…

    And I remember asking you here long ago, why did you kill her?

    Will try and remember the laughter peals. I truly hope she had a wonderful life for all the dua coming her way.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Beautiful. It is amazing to see what all goes down to make a film come alive. And I must confess, I’ve given my son benedryl to knock him off on a 24 hour flight to India. I told his doctor, ” Please give him something to sleep, or he will be miserable and so will the passengers around me” He slept throughout. baby was happy, mom was happy, the rest of the passengers happy.
    I did shed a whole lot of tears when Tina died. But that was the turning point of the movie.

  9. Yeah Little Tina’s death is what one remembersmost, I liken it to Beth dying in Little Women, some dealths are bitter sweet….what does Tina do now, how does she look I wonder..

  10. I loved mr india as a kid. I bought the dvd with some hesitation to show it to my kids. I wasnt sure if they would like it, afterall its a film thats more than twenty years old, the sets the characters look a bit jaded… I am happy to let u know, that my six year old loves the film!! And i am glad that he does. Its holiday time right now, so i am introducing him to some good childrens films, the last film he saw ( ten times or more laready) was chitty chitty bang bang. I was worried then too that he would not relate to the film but he loves it now. Cinema is magical, and a good film has eternal life. Kudos to u mr kapoor for making this film. One of my fav films of all time is masoom. So there!! 🙂

  11. I have been trying to look up names of the kids in mr india on the net but there is almost no good article about them, kindly post a link if there is one.

  12. Hello Shekharji,

    I have seen Mr. India many times and Its a wonderful movie you made. I just wanted to ask you here that Who has played the role of “TINA” in the movie. I have searched internet a lot but nowhere I can find that detail. It would be great if you could share with us.

  13. Little but marvelous Tina in Mr. India is Ketkie Jayashree.

    In Mr India…i always stop at the point when Tina dies!!! And then there is a choking silence…i think Tina’s death is one of the most momentous death in bollywood history… Thank you Mr Kapoor for such a wonderful movie and the most wonderful song of Kishor Kumar “Zindagi ki yehi reet hay.. haar ke baad hi jeet hay”

  14. Yes I remember the character of little cute Tina in Mr India have to admit the scene where she is shown in a coffin made me cry, it was very emotional and felt almost real. Good cute actress, now we know she was put to sleep to make her look dead. Scene done very well!

  15. … Tear’s rolled down my cheeks, when i saw Tina dying in Mr India…. :'( ….. for me, even after so many yrs …Mr India is my super-hero……

  16. Tina was tge most beautiful cute kid with awesome acting in the movie. I too am eagerly wanting to know what is her name and where is she now. Tina or anyone who reads and knows anthing, kindly share

  17. just now surfed on net and found out the character who played tina is ketki jayshree..and i remeber seeing her a daily soap on sony about 5 years back..

  18. Mr. Kapur, watched Mr. India 25 years ago sitting at the edge of the cinema seat and watch it today with the same excitement!!! Thank you for this film…Films like these are so not there today for kids… they have to watch trash! 🙁 Why don’t you make some more films like this one?

  19. The most beautiful movie I have seen, I was very young at that time in class IV. I have seen this movie number of times……Tina..oh gosh…she is so beautiful and cute…when she dies I thought why an angel got killed…I feel so bad, with lots of tears in my eyes…still now when I saw this it makes me cry….

  20. Ketki is born in 1986….. How can she be Tina? The only person who can answer is Mr Shekar Kapur… Hoping u will reply sir…

  21. Dear Shekhar ji,
    How do you manage to keep yourself so unadulterated and honest. Is it among all the adulation which can sweep most from their feet , your inner connectedness keeps you grounded. Is it your inner chaos that keeps you so centered. Whatever it is… I am glad it is there ..otherwise I could have lost you to the world .
    love
    Urvashi.

  22. Since every body is so much anxious to know that who is that sweet tina…..So, I have done some research and came out with the answer (probably)…….well I am not sure since wiki page can be edited by anyone, though I was amazed by seeing the young tina as mentioned in this page….kindly follow the link and go through the section where full cast and crew members are mentioned…..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._India

  23. Its written that Tina’s role was played by ketki..no ways.. I was ketki’s classmate and I know her since a kid…

  24. I watchd dis muv aftr long tym n its full f Masti ……bt wen tina dies i broke out in tears :'(

    she z cutest girl eva…god bless her 🙂

  25. “And yes, I confess, her mother and I gave her a
    tiny spoonful of that. And Tina went peacefully to
    sleep. And something strange happened.”
    What was ‘that’ which you and her mother gave? I’m eager to know..

  26. 1. is tina the little child is
    Today
    Actress Suhana
    Plz tell me

    2. is actor raju (child artest of parichay,bawarchi,faraar etc)
    what is his fathers name plz tell me

  27. sir,
    I wanted to know how did you came up with this idea as i was small when this movie was made but later on i saw it and enjoyed india’s first sci-fi movie and can u trace all the kids in the movie and what they are doing presently in their life and can you take a small interview of them after so many years will be a great. Thanks for such an entertaining movie.

  28. Hello Mr. Kapur. I am a writer and have long wanted to ask you some questions about Mr. India. Is there any place I could write to you? any email id? Thanks a ton!

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