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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Coming soon to a theatre near you: Anna Hazare to play himself in Marathi film

Kunal Purohit , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 14, 2014
First Published: 13:08 IST(14/5/2014) | Last Updated: 13:48 IST(14/5/2014)

While the country was in the midst of one of the most closely contested polls, Anna Hazare, the famed corruption crusader was lying low, missing from the political limelight. It now emerges that he was charting out a different kind of innings facing the arc lights.

The septuagenarian Hazare is all set to make his silver screen debut, playing himself in an upcoming Marathi film titled ‘Andolan’. The leader, who many thought would have played a crucial role in the political realignment in the recent polls, has instead chosen to turn to cinema to ‘inspire people'.

Hazare has a dramatic journey from having grabbed headlines during his agitation for the Lokpal bill to his current state, after the ‘support’ to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee turned out to be a non-starter.

The film is based on the story of four children who, inspired by historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose among others, create a “mini-revolution” of sorts, said director Prashant Madhukar Rane.

“The idea is to show that each one of us is a mini-Anna in a way. Hence, we are trying to tell the story of how these figures awakened the citizens inside these four children who in turn awakened the village,” he added.

Anna rehearses for his role with Prashant Madhukar Rane, the director of the movie. (HT Photo)

While the movie’s script may seem to be in seamless resonance with Hazare’s work and his ‘off-screen’ persona, the idea to cast him didn’t come to Rane naturally. According to Rane, Hazare cast himself in the movie.

“In fact it was only after the movie was shot that someone suggested that I hold a screening for Annaji. He saw the rough cut of the film and he liked it so much that he wanted to be a part of it and asked me to include him in the film,” added Rane.

Accordingly, Rane then revised the script and included the veteran activist as a ‘narrator’. “The film’s opening titles are a montage of his various movements after which the film opens to him holding his darbar, where he begins narrating the story of the four children.”

The movie was shot in Ralegan Siddhi in January early this year and will be released soon.

Incidentally, the film’s crew said that Hazare did very well during the shoot. “He said all his lines in the first take. It was almost as if he was a natural actor, visibly comfortable with the camera,” said the film’s cinematographer Amit Singh.

Hazare’s aides confirmed the development. However, despite repeated attempts, Hazare could not be reached for his comment.

Anna Hazare on the sets of the movie with director Rane. (HT Photo)
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