One of the main ingredients of a Prakash Jha film is its topical element and the director now wants to bring on the silver screen the relationship of the police and society today. Almost all of Jha's films be it Mrityudand, Gangaajal, Apaharan and latest, Satyagraha, have been connected to their time.
The 61-year-old helmer feels the image of police in the society has changed drastically in the last 12 years and this subject could make for an interesting movie. The director now wants to bring on the silver screen the relationship of the police and society today. "I did Gangaajal which was about the relationship between the society and police at that point of time. The dictum then was that society gets the police it deserves. But in the last 12 years, there has been a big change. The attitude of the society to the police is different," Jha told PTI in an interview.
"Today if a cop has to arrest a criminal he thinks ten times, because there is the caste, communal factor, the local goon, the politician, his own officer, the judiciary. My friends, who are cops say there is no policing in this country anymore. Efficiency has become a crime and inaction is a virtue. I find this very interesting. I have a story I could work on it," Jha said.
The filmmaker, who tried his hands in politics for some time, has made his political drive well-known in his movies as well. His films have all been prisms for reflecting politics- Raajneeti drew parallels to the epic Mahabharata, Apaharan was set in the backdrop of politicians and the kidnapping industry in Bihar, Aarakshan was on the controversial policy of caste based reservations in Indian government jobs and educational institutions and Chakravyuh was a commentary on the issues of Naxalites. Jha says he has never made such films to be preachy or with an intent to invite the youth to enter politics.
He feels becoming a politician is not the only way one can change the system. "One way you can change the system is by getting into the system, as long as you don't get into the system those who are in the power will continue to do what they are doing. But I feel even thinking about politics, about the right candidate, voting for the right candidate, canvassing for the right candidate, making sure that the right candidate comes to lead us- is also political engagement. "You don't have to become a politician, you have to be politically aware. You have to take control of your political destiny," the director-producer said. Jha unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from his native Champaran in 2004 and again in 2009. When asked if he would like to revive his political career any time soon, he said, "My political career is long over. I am a very straight and determined guy. I gave ten years of my life to public service. It is over and I am finished with it. I have to do a whole lot of other things."
Satyagraha, Jha's latest release, starring megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, has done well at the box office and the director is elated with the response as he never expected the film to do so well. "I am not talking about some of the critics who did not agree with my presentation but in terms of collection and response of the audience, it has exceeded our expectations. I don't really make commercial films so it is interesting for me to see how people do connect to this kind of cinema and find it engaging. It encourages me," Jha said.