Producer-director Prakash Jha, many of whose films — Gangaajal (2003), Apaharan (2005), Raajneeti (2010), Aarakshan (2011), Chakravyuh (2012) — have consistently dealt with corruption in India, doesn’t consider himself a rebel. But he says he is repulsed by the way politicians are straining the democracy.
“Their mind-set is still feudal. I am not anti-government, I am anti that attitude. (When) they attain a position — whether public or political — they start ruling people. This zamindari mind-set has to go,” says Jha, adding, “They (politicians) are supposed to serve the people and that’s what they promise to do when they ask for votes. Then, the moment they come into power, they start working against the people. (Through) newspapers and films, we have to keep warning them (politicians). We are trying to set the democracy right.”
In 2004 and 2009, Jha contested for the position of an MP (Member of Parliament) from his native region, west Champaran in Bihar. However, he was not elected. But that hasn’t deterred him from using cinema as a medium to put his point across. “I was never into politics, but I wanted the job of an MP. I wanted to contest an election and get a position in the assembly.
But for now, that engagement with society continues with my films,” he says. Considering his last few releases didn’t do very well at the box office, is he apprehensive about Satyagraha? “There is always apprehension, as my stories don’t make for commercial entertainment films.”