Acclaimed filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, who signed underprivileged boy Sikandar Aggarwal for his ready-for-release Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, is making sure that the 17-year-old teenager doesn't revert to his old life.
"Sikandar is from an impoverished family in Jharkhand. But he has immense talent and a sharp mind," Mishra, whose last film "Khoya Khoya Chand" bombed at the box office, told IANS.
"I saw him in a Bengali film called 'Shadows Of Time', directed by German director Florian Gallenberger. No one knew what happened to Sikandar after the movie. But I knew he was the right face and personality to play my Johnny," he added.
Mishra put his casting director on the job.
"She rediscovered Sikandar as a camera assistant in one of the dingy studios of Kolkata. Sikandar has lived up to all my expectations in 'Tera Kya Hoga Johnny'. Now he's my responsibility."
Not only has Mishra taken charge of the boy's life he's determined to see him make something of his life.
"Ideally, I'd have liked to adopt Sikandar legally. But at 17, he's too old for adoption. So I've given him everything that I would have as an adoptive parent. He lives in my place permanently and all his expenses are borne by me. Now that the film is over I intend to put him in a college and see him educated."
As a creative person Mishra feels a filmmaker's responsibility goes beyond entertainment.
"That's what my cinema has always reflected. My films are not about diverting audiences' minds for three hours. 'Tera Kya Hoga Johnny' is about a street child. It takes me back to the social issues of Dharavi. The film's release got delayed because of some editing problems.
"I don't want it to be just one of those films that come and go in a clutter of Friday releases. Fortunately, I'm the film's co-producer. So I do have control over the release."