It was quite an eventful Tuesday for the students at the Symbiosis International University Lavale campus, as filmmaker Prakash Jha, along with actors Ajay Devgn and Arjun Rampal arrived for an interaction with the students to speak about their recently released film ‘Satyagraha‘.
Jha, who was quite pleased with the way the film has been received, spoke of working with artistes who believed in the story. “We have put in the efforts and have not thought of just commercial gains. We had faith in the film and have told it in an engaging manner. It has been influenced by the way new India has worked. The voices against issues are multiplying and the youth is expressing what they feel about these things. Post the release, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the film.”
On being asked about the comparisons with the Anna Hazare movement, he responded, “Arvind Kejriwal did see the film and admitted that it is not on Hazare. His ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign had the middle class come together to fight for corruption. The greatest influence on the film is Bapu who coined the word Satyagraha. Hazare’s campaign failed as it was not ideologically pushed. What happened at India Gate was just a baby step towards a mass political statement.”
Ajay admitted that the role drove him to do Satyagraha. He connected with the character. “I totally believe in what Jha is trying to convey through the movie. I believe that the youth should progress by becoming aware about things and getting involved in progress.” After Rajneeti, there was a gap of a few years in working with Jha but Ajay found no difference in working with him. “There is more maturity involved now.”
Arjun who clearly got more of the female attention, was happy working with the right star cast. “As an actor, when you prepare for a role, it is important that your co-stars come with the same attitude. When you have a good team, things work. Here too, we were in sync. The film has done well. It has earned around Rs. 41-42 crore in a few days which is good for a film like this. Despite being a political drama, the audience response is overwhelming, especially from the youngsters. They have said that I am the kind of leader they want. I have portrayed their aggression on screen.”
While speaking about young India, Jha felt that the youth asks for explanations about anything happening around them. “You (the students) are born post liberalization and have more options than what we had. You are performance oriented and so want the system to perform.” When asked if a Pradhan Mantri will like being called Pradhan Sevak, as mentioned in his movie, he had certain misgivings, as he felt that the political parties might not give in so easily. “They still have a feudal mindset. I hope the attitude changes.”
In the end, Jha admitted that India is a difficult place to make films, as you cannot make certain films on certain people or issues without protests. However, he went on to say, “Do not be afraid to make your kind of films. Make it and then get it cleared by the censors.”