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Real heroes take to reels

More directors now want to cast real life people for their films. Yojana Sharma probes more.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 19:38 IST

"Kitne Aadmi the," demanded Gabbar Sigh aka Amjad Khan in Sholay. But is this how dacoits look like? Do they talk like this?

We will soon come to know since the age of fabricated Gabbar Singhs is fading. With more directors casting real dacoits for biopics, Bollywood is heading into an era when common people will enact their tale on the 70 mm screen. Not only dacoits, but also beggars, bar dancers and many more real life heroes are on their way to capture the silver screen.

Anubhav Sinha and Percept Picture Company have featured four street urchins in their upcoming film Kabootar. The film revolves around the life of these kids. Also, Krishna Mishra announced his second venture - Pakad  with the scion of dreaded dacoit Shyam Jatav. Mishra has earlier made Wounded based on the life of dacoit queen Seema Parihar. The film ran into controversy for the use of filthy language. Now it has been cleared by the Censor Board and will be released in July.

Are the real life people replacing our suave and sober actors? Don’t we want to see more Amjad Khans screaming in the ravines of Chambal?

Noted director Madhur Bhandarkar is working with street urchins and eunuchs in his new film,

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. Before this, he had featured bar girls in his hugely popular flick,

Chandni Bar.

Are real life people replacing our suave and seasoned actors? Don’t we want to see more Amjad Khans terrorising the ravines of Chambal?

The answer surely is yes. As Madhur Bhandarkar puts it, "We want to see real people portray what they have gone through". Mishra endorses this view adding that it is impossible for an actor to emulate a dacoit's or a beggar's experiences. "It is superficial to make somebody enact the life of a dacoit. An actor can give his best shot but he will still fall short of what a dacoit feels like. Here, we are talking about real people and real circumstances," says Mishra.

How can beggars act? Pat comes the reply from Bhandarkar, "Anybody can act. The degree of skill varies from people to people but yes, anybody can act."

The box office fate of such films is yet to be monitored but yes, they do garner publicity and hype – which is important for any film in Mumbai.

Are we trying to say that no one from our industry will do justice to the beggar or dacoit act? "Not really, but Bollywood is ruled by glamour," says Mishra. "People like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Mahesh Bhatt are geniuses but then, a person who has gone through these trails will always be the best to tell his tale," adds Mishra. His film,

Pakad 

will feature the dacoits Malkhan Singh, Maan Singh and Mohar Singh. Chances are that Seema Parihar will also feature in a miniscule role. His leading actors, Shyam Jatav and female bandit Neelam, are currently in jail. He plans to seek bail to free them for the duration of the filming. 

How does it feel to face the camera? Bandit queen Seema Parihar, who played herself in Wounded says it’s a cakewalk. In fact, she feels happy that Wounded came her way. "It is an opportunity for me, otherwise my story would have been buried",  she says. She did not need glycerine to make her cry. "The mere recollection of my past brings tears in my eyes. I did not need any glycerine".

Bollywood is surely a different experience for these ‘newcomers’. "Yes," say Parihar and her director in unison but Parihar is not keen on doing more films. “It is not for me,” she says. Her director Mishra is also uncertain about the future of such actors but feels happy that these few people have a chance to explore the glam industry.

The box office fate of such films is yet to be monitored but yes, they do garner publicity and hype – which is important for any film in Mumbai. Wounded may have been put on hold in India but it earned rave reviews from critics at the Leicester film festival. Seems the directors have learnt their lessons right.