Shyam Saran Negi is set to make his Bollywood debut at the age of 97. India’s first ever voter (he was the first one to cast his vote at India’s first General Election in 1951), Negi is a retired school teacher who lives in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.
Apart from featuring in director Divya Khosla Kumar’s next, which also stars Pulkit Samrat, Yami Gautam and Urvashi Rautela, Negi is also lending the makers his house, which will be used as Pulkit’s character’s residence.
"Divya had been on a recce for the past few months. When she came across Negiji’s house, she immediately decided that she wanted to shoot there," says an insider.
The Yaariyan director came across a picture of the house online and went to Shimla and Kalpa, unaware of who the owner of the house was. The day of her visit coincided with the General Elections in the state, so media vans could be spotted in the vicinity.
At the first meeting itself, Divya expressed a desire to have the nonagenarian make an appearance in her movie, but he was hesitant. "He was too shy, plus, he felt that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the long shooting hours. Now, Divya has decided to have him in a scene where a group of people from the neighbourhood visit the house," adds the insider.
Divya confirms the story, saying, "I fell in love with the house the moment I saw the pictures. I have also asked Negiji to be part of a scene that won’t be too taxing."