Praveen Kumar’s small-budget film, Jo Dooba So Paar — It’s Love In Bihar that’s gearing up for an October 14 release has found support from an unexpected quarter — the state’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar attended a special screening on October 1 and despite saying that he’d be around for only an hour, sat through the entire film. He then had an impromptu press conference in the foyer of Patna’s only mall during which he was all praises for the family entertainer that he described as “enjoyable, clean and well-researched”. He also said that the film is accurate in its “depiction of small town ethos and the never-say-die spirit of the youth”.
“Coming from a Chief Minister who has been the flagbearer of change and progress in my home state, that’s the biggest endorsement I could have asked for,” says the director. “The last film Nitishji admitted to having watched was Raju Hirani’s 3 Idiots and he compared its positive energy to ours.”
The film’s mouthful of a title was what drew Nitish Kumar to the film, admits Praveen Kumar, saying that they had started with a more conventional Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai. The shooting title was Keshu The Truck Driver that changed to Na Woh Mili N Ya Mila during the editing. “Jo Dooba So Paar — It’s Love In Bihar came much later from a Amir Khusrau couplet and seemed apt because the film is about learning to love fearlessly. Interestingly, when I went to IMPAA, I was told that a year ago, I had already registered,” reminisces the filmmaker.
The film’s financier and music composer, Manish J Tipu, are from Bihar, along with the director and lead actor Vinay Pathak. Yet, Praveen Kumar admits he was wary of shooting there, and a major chunk was filmed in Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai.
“But we needed to shoot the climax in Bodh Gaya and hence applied for the necessary permission. But since no one had heard of Praveen Kumar, security cover wasn’t provided for,” admits Praveen Kumar. “We shot in the middle of Gaya without a single policeman escorting us and without a single untoward incident. Full credit to Nitishji for this. He’s given us a New Bihar where love and not violence reigns. And our film reflects that Bihar.”