Actor, screenwriter and director of Hindi and Marathi films Anant Mahadevan is clear that his film, Gour Hari Dastaan: The Freedom File, is perhaps only for the 1 per cent of Bharatn film goers—interested in a good, touching real-life story. Even though the film has won acclaim in the international festival circuit, he is not interested in how much money it would make at the box-office. During a preview of the film in Delhi, Mahadevan shares his views in a free-wheeling chat with Debobrat Ghose:
- What inspired you to take up this film?
Shri Gour Hari Das is a living freedom fighter, and there are not many alive, who we get to meet. There are very few incidences when we meet a person, who truly is a big personality and at same time honest, simple and has done something commendable for the society or the nation. Shri Das is one such living personality and an icon of struggle. He is a metaphor and mirror of our present society.
- Is this the reason, why you chose to direct the film?
The film is not an emotional journey of Das, but it’s a reflection of our faulty system and post-Independent Bharat’s apathy to give recognition to a man, who fought to make Bharat free from the British. It’s about his fight for a cause, about his second monumental struggle to prove that he was not a fraud but a genuine freedom fighter.
- How will this film connect with the audience?
There is angst in the life of every common man. Being a part of the system, he faces denial due to bureaucratic apathy and red tapism, and has to fight for his rights in every step. The audience will identify with Das, who fought for 32 years to get himself recognised as a ‘real freedom fighter’ in post-Independent Bharat. As an ordinary man, his resilience in the struggle was unparalleled.
- How did you get to know about him?
A few years back, I read about him in some newspapers and I wanted to know more. After meeting him, we did research and took notes from him. This eventually translated into Gour Hari Daastan.
- What’s your opinion about present day’s nationalism and patriotism?
Now, it’s only limited to the Independence Day (August 15), when people unfurl the ‘Tiranga’ and move on. Bharat is gradually converting into a nation of hypocrites.
- After directing the film, has your perception of the present political system in Bharat undergone a change?
We’ve gone into the same abyss, where the British had left us and we’re succumbing to our faulty system. While, we take one step forward, we’re pushed two steps backward. There is a lust for power and everything is politicised, which leads to doom. Bharat is a vast nation, with many religions and sects, and different economic strata. Both the government and the people should wake up and rally together to bring change for a better tomorrow.
- What’s your next project?
Rough Book—a film based on the Bharatiya education system. It shows the dichotomy of opinion between teachers, parents and students. It’s the story of a lady teacher (based on a true story). The film will be released in September.