Politicians and politics continue to inspire Bollywood. Now, Mayawati, the Chief Minister (CM) of Uttar Pradesh (UP), will soon be seen in a screen adaptation, essayed by Kitu Gidwani in debutante director, Ishraq Shah’s Ek Bura Aadmi. Not surprisingly, the film, also featuring Arunoday Singh and Raghuvir Yadav, is also set in small town north India.
Although the look and costumes designed for Kitu give-away the similarity, Gidwani remains non-committal. “I think so,” she says when asked whether her character, Rukmi Devi, is modelled on the minister. Conceding that she’s playing the CM of UP in the movie, the actor reveals that she’s also speaking in the appropriate dialect. “Ishraq, the director is from Itara in UP. So he’s coached me on the diction, mannerisms and other nuances that I have to incorporate for Rukmi Devi,” she explains, in-between shots on location at a bungalow in Udaipur.
Tell her that character, and even the film, could be targeted by Mayawati loyalists, and the actor remained unperturbed. “The country loses its integrity when people kick up a furor over non-issues. And these days, people are creating a ruckus over anything,” she observes, maintaining that politicians are the worst of the lot. However, she’s quick to add that she’s never played a ‘neta’ before, so playing a power-hungry politician is a novel experience for her.
Kitu attributes her signing up for Ek Bura Aadmi to Ishraq, who has assisted veteran lyricist-filmmaker, Gulzar, for eight years before branching out. “These days one comes across so many shady people in the industry that you can’t say anything,” says the veteran actor, who started her career with Ketan Mehta’s film, Holi (1985) and the TV serial, Trishna, about 27 years ago. “I was convinced by the clarity of thought he had for the film even though it’s his first. Even the producers are sensible. One of them, Zena, is from Singapore,” she says.
She further admits that her not being attracted by the cynical industry is one of the reasons she does selective work. After essaying a Mayawati-inspired politico, Kitu will play a wiccan in Pawan Kaul’s supernatural thriller. She says, “It’s written by Ipsita Chakraverti, India’s first wiccan. It’s a very unusual film.”