Actor-producer-director-writer Manoj Kumar has given the nod to one of his evergreen patriotic songs from Upkar, Mere desh ki dharti…, to be used for a documentary on Baba Ramdev. The Baba began an indefinite hunger strike on Saturday at 7 am in the capital’s Ramlila maidan after talks with the government at a five-star hotel fell through. The protest has been described as a “satyagraha against corruption and black money” and is targeted at ensuring that “the poor get a good life.” It gets the nod of approval from Mr Bharat.
Says the yesteryear superstar, “I received a letter seeking permission to use the song from Upkar and I’ve given them the go-ahead. I’ve met him on occasion. He has revolutionised yoga as a way of life and has been openly singing my songs, including Bharat ka rahnewala hoon, Bharat ke baat sunata hoon.. from Purab Aur Paschim. Why shouldn’t this one too be associated with him?”
Quiz Manoj Kumar on whether he is planning a trip to Delhi to show his support for the yoga guru and he retorts, “It’s not important if I go to Delhi or not. I don’t need to tell you that corruption is rampant across the country. It’s been there since Panditji’s (Jawaharlal Nehru) times, right down to Bofors and Telgi scams . The ‘chhote chors’ (petty thieves) are caught and punished but the bigger crooks get away.”
Point out to him that there are many who view Baba Ramdev’s headline grabbing act as a “circus” and Manoj Kumar argues that 15 cities in the US are with him and there are many in the country too backing him: “Since we live in a democracy, everyone has the right to express their opinion. And corruption is a burning issue today. Our leaders are only looking after their personal security without a thought for the security of the common man. I’ve always believed that if a country is not secure, no one living there is secure.”
He sighs over the fact that despite assurances, Anna Hazare’s fast for the Lokpal bill has hit a roadblock, leading to Anna now joining hands with Ramdev. “Today, there’s the need for a mass movement and like Gandhiji, Baba Ramdev too has made it clear that his ‘satyagrah’ is non-violent. If his message can reach the government through peaceful means, what’s wrong?” he reasons.
He is still penning scripts and there’s talk of him returning to direction soon. Any plans of a movie on Baba Ramdev? “Not yet,” he smiles. “But my song will be playing in his documentary.”