Cinema with a cause

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Cinema with a cause

Lending a strong and resonant voice to director Prakash Jha’s characters, Satyagraha delves into important questions facing the Indian middle class

By Sadiq Shaban (sadiq@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Mon 19 Aug 2013, 11:55 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:41 AM

Jha with his Satyagraha team Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Rao, Ajay Devgn and Amitabh BachchanTHE MULTI-STARER SATYAGRAHA – Democracy Under Fire, said to be inspired by India’s anti-corruption movement that brought political discussions out of the drawing rooms and into the streets, is the most talked about film release this August. Like most of director Prakash Jha’s films, Satyagraha, too is a high-voltage political drama. But Amitabh Bachchan says the movie is about a lot more than just that.

Playing the role of a revolutionary who believes in Gandhian ways, Amitabh Bachchan, in an exclusive conversation with City Times, said, “It is basically a story between a father and a son — a father who has lost his son, and a son who is in search of a father. The character that I play is very moralistic and very composed. He wants to achieve everything in a peaceful manner. He propagates that if you want something, if you are dissatisfied with something, then the way to approach is to do something peacefully”.

With the film’s main focus on mass movements, Prakash Jha, believes middle class people all over the world are distressed over the prevailing system. However the filmmaker strikes a realistic note and adds that he doesn’t expect the movie to bring about any social change overnight. “Frankly my aim is to entertain the movie-going audience. I expect people to feel engaged and satisfied after seeing this film,” Prakash Jha revealed to us. The film-maker clarified that the movie is not based on social activist Anna Hazare’s movement as has been widely reported.

Satyagraha is inspired by several incidents and events. It is a film that seeks answers in the backdrop of a politically surcharged milieu, in a new age. Lending a strong and resonant voice to Jha’s characters, the movie delves into important questions facing an everyday Indian and how they endeavour to overcome those challenges. Satyagraha attempts to highlight the uprising of the middle class against an unjust system, which leaves it with no alternative but to form a spontaneous movement to challenge the status quo.

Pertinently large portions of the film were shot in the central Indian city of Bhopal. “With more than a thousand people on the sets, Prakashji did a great job by extracting the best from everyone. Bhopal has a very pleasant environment and the people are very hospitable. Since parts of the story are set in the hinterland, to keep the essence true, we worked hard to keep it real. Shooting for Satyagraha was a great experience,” averred Amitabh.

Jha expects the film to do well. “Cinema is an efficient and popular medium to send a strong social message. I have tried to highlight the movement of the middle-class to re-negotiate democracy,” the Satyagraha director added. At 61, Jha feels confident that a gripping tale that talks about the challenges to our society – about a man who is a firm believer of Gandhian principles, an entrepreneur who represents modern India, an activist with big ambitions, a fearless journalist and an astute politician who uses every trick in the book to abuse the system, is going to go down well with the audiences.

The film’s song Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram was recently launched at the Mehboob Studios in Mumbai. According to the film’s director the famous song, popularised by Mahatma Gandhi (originally put to music by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar) has not been changed and only a few words have been added to showcase the aggression of today‘s youth. “The promotions of Satyagraha driven from one to the other, such an organised and necessary institution, orderly, smart et al,” Amitabh Bachchan recently posted on Twitter. Satyagraha, which boasts a stellar cast of Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Amrita Rao, is slated to release on August 29 in the UAE.



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