Ralegan Siddhi, a small village in Maharashtra with a population of roughly 2,500 people, burst on to the national news radar when its resident Anna Hazare took up cudgels against corruption in India. Now, as Amitabh Bachchan gears up to play the social activist in Prakash Jha’s forthcoming Satyagraha, the village will serve as one of their main shoot locations.
“It began with a discussion about Big B’s look for the film. Then they (Bachchan and Jha) began discussing the shoot locations,” says an industry insider. It seems that the idea of shooting at Ralegan Siddhi was on Jha’s mind right from the beginning. The insider adds, “The shoot, which will begin in January 2013, will start in Bhopal. After that, the production unit will head to Ralegan Siddhi.”
The village is closely connected to Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade.
In August, as he went on a fast at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, the villagers here went without food for 13 days to show solidarity. And though his residence here is just a small room inside a temple, he’s contributed majorly to the development of the village. Naturally then, the place is expected to play a significant part in the movie.
The makers are presently working out permissions to shoot there. “Mr Bachchan will shoot in Ralegan Siddhi for roughly a week. The scenes will form major portions of the film. The entire unit is excited. They want to keep Big B’s role as close to reality as possible,” adds the source.
Ask if the makers have spoken to Hazare himself, and the insider reveals, “Not yet. But they will do so soon. It only makes sense for them to talk to Anna once they have all the information about what they need ready.”
The producers — UTV Motion Pictures — and director Prakash Jha remained unavailable for a comment.
Social activist Anna Hazare