Saand Ki Aankh: Shooter Dadi Prakashi Tomar says she went into hiding after winning medals
Saand Ki Aankh trailer is out now and gives a glimpse at how Shooter Dadi Prakashi Tomar, portrayed by Taapsee Pannu, achieved the unthinkable amid all odds.
Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar’s Saand Ki Aankh trailer is out and gives a glimpse of the life story of the Shooter Dadis – Prakashi Tomar and Chandro Tomar. The two women went on to become world’s oldest sharp-shooters, cocking a snook at patriarchy and beliefs how women are supposed to behave.
The two sisters-in-law from Johri village in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh will witness the release of their biopic, Saand Ki Aankh, this Diwali. The younger one of the two, Prakashi, also known as Revolver Dadi, has been portrayed by Taapse in the film. The 84-year-old spoke to Hindustan Times about how their journey in life was like no one else. Excerpts from the interview:
How did it feel to see Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu dressed like you for the first time?
It felt very good. We were very happy. They are the ones who have done the hard work and have showed what they have done in the trailer.
Did you guide them about how to play you on screen?
Prakashi: They had asked us and our daughter Seema before the shooting about who we are and how we live.
Seema: They had asked us how my mother and aunt live; walk and talk. They had stayed for quite some time in the village and observed and learnt how they behave and talk. They tried to learn our language. Taapsee, who plays my mom Prakashi, had asked us about her mannerisms, how she stands with the gun in her hand. They also saw many videos of her to know her better.
So how many marks would you give them out of ten?
They have done justice to quite an extent and it seems we need to give them 10 out of 10 (laughs). We just loved the trailer.
These days the medal winners come home to a rousing welcome. How were you welcomed in the village when you won your first medal?
We went into hiding at home so as not to let our husbands know what we had done. Forget about a welcome, we kept silent all the time with not even a mention of any such thing. They were not happy at all with our activities and said ‘don’t go roaming around, do some house chores’. When they ask us in the trailer that what we eat to hit the bull ’s eye every time, we say gaali (curses).
For how long could you keep it a secret?
We were ‘buzurg’ (senior citizens) and were supposed to be careful about how to go about things. Our boys (sons) supported us. They said ‘you play openly, we will manage the rest’. They used to lie about where we were going. We had the support of our sons and daughters-in-law due to which we went on to compete in championships. We won several medals and hid them all so that our husbands and others never got a whiff of it.
What about television and newspapers?
They are elderly people and don’t watch TV. They are neither fond of it nor they pay attention to what’s in news.
What happened when they finally discovered your secret?
They come to know about it after one year, when we brought the medal. It was out in newspapers and the word spread from one house to another. Someone told them that dadi has won a very big medal at a big event. Even after this they did not ask us to go out and compete. Instead, they said, ‘yeh to dhakke khaati firey’.
How did the idea of shooting come in the first place?
A shooting range had come up in the village. Our daughter asked us to get her an admission but didn’t want to travel alone. So, we accompanied them to the range for a few days. There we saw how she was holding the gun, loading bullets, balancing it and taking the shot. We also tried our hands at it and liked it and that’s how it all started.
How did you continue after your secret was out in the open?
They tried to put several restrictions. We had a domestic help who would do the house chores. Our kids also used to help us at home. Our sons used to lie that we are sick and are lying in bed while we would sneak out and play.
In your younger days, did you have a hobby or a wish to do something other than looking after the house and family?
We had no hobby or any such wish. We didn’t go out much.
Now does anyone dare to tell you what to do at this age?
No. They started liking it when the film was being shot here. Now they ask me in interviews how do I feel. I say ‘it feels good’.
Keeping aside ‘galis’, what do you actually eat to have a perfect eyesight at this age?
By god’s grace, everything is working fine and we don’t need to ask anyone about anything. At this age, one who wants to do it, will do it. ‘Tan buddha ho jaye, mun buddha na hove’.