Bihar Diaries: IPS Amit Lodha’s life makes for thrilling book, Bollywood film
When Amit Lodha phoned filmmaker Neeraj Pandey to narrate experiences from his days as a police officer on duty in Bihar — to suggest him to make a film on it — they mutually decided to meet for just 20 minutes because the latter was busy promoting his film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016). The rendezvous, however, stretched to eight hours, and it goes without saying that Pandey agreed to make the movie. But, he also insisted that Lodha jots down his adventures as a book, which has now released with the name of Bihar Diaries.
No conversation with this cop-turned-author can be brief since the man in uniform is a raconteur who has been “lucky” to have had a first-hand account of Bihar’s underbelly, and “hard-working” to achieve whatever he aimed for.
Lodha, Deputy Inspector General of the Border Security Force (BSF), says, “It’s (filmmaker) Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who has a big role to play in making me think that my life could be made into a film. Mr Mehra once invited me over to a dinner when he was in Jaisalmer, where I’m presently posted. He asked me to narrate a few incidents from Bihar, and I did so. On hearing them, he said, ‘Amit, a movie has to be made on this’. I really didn’t know if he was serious, but I asked him, ‘Why don’t you make a movie on this?’ He said ‘I’m already booked for the next few years, and my kind of movies are very different from your story’. I then thought of Neeraj Pandey being the perfect man for this because all his films, be it A Wednesday (2008) or Baby (2015), are commercial successes; very entertaining and at the same time [they are] logical and fast-paced. Later, (actor) Akshay Kumar became my friend (since we have common interests), and introduced me to Neeraj. Sometimes you are destined; so even though I don’t read many spiritual books, I really believe that ‘If you desire something then the universe conspires....”
Trailer of Neeraj Pandey’s film Baby, which stars actor Akshay Kumar in the lead role.
The actor-turned-author Twinkle Khanna writes in the book’s foreword that the film can be titled ‘Lucky Lodha’, and wishes that her husband, actor Akshay Kumar agrees to portray the lead character. Admiring her wittiness, Lodha, who is an IIT Delhi alumnus, says, “It will sound very strange and arrogant, but I have always been an achiever. In the sense that when I desire something, I go for it! Whether it was to clear IPS or my resolution to arrest this criminal (antagonist Vijay Samrat, in the book); it becomes an obsession for me. You can take it as a positive or a negative thing,” says Lodha as memories of his IIT-D days come rushing back to him. “I didn’t know how to play squash. I remember the first time I played, and the squash player of IIT Delhi — which was a big thing — ushered me out of the court saying ‘This court is not for you because you don’t know how to play’. I then started practising at 1’o clock in the night, because the courts were vacant only then. And after three months, I got into the IIT team, and beat the same person,” recalls Lodha, as his face lights up with a cheeky smile. “So, I’m not naturally a gifted person, but if I decide something, then I work towards getting it,” says the Kishore Kumar fan.
Lodha, too, wishes actor Akshay Kumar to play his part on-screen. Alongside, he credits actor Emraan Hashmi for making him meet author S Hussain Zaidi, who in turn guided this officer to pen down his encounters with criminals.
But, not many know that before Neeraj Pandey, actor Irrfan had expressed interest in making this film. “Irrfan, too, met me over a dinner in Jaisalmer, when he came to shoot for a film. On being asked by his wife, I narrated 1-2 incidents from my Bihar days, and the next day the actor called me to say that he couldn’t sleep all night because he kept thinking about what I had told him, and asked me to send him the script so that he could make a film on it. He even sent me a contract over mail, but somehow the talks never materialised,” says Lodha, who had stopped over in Delhi on his way to Hyderabad. “I’m going to meet (Bahubali actor) Rana Daggubati; he sent me a message saying he read the book on a flight, and I believe he wants to make a Telugu version of this film,” Lodha adds.
One wonders if he remains tensed about the safety of his family; as the names and characteristics of some criminals had to be changed for the book since they are out on bail? And Lodha chides the worry saying, “It’s a professional hazard.” A humorist at heart, he’s in a “happy zone”, and thankful to the almighty, and his wife for supporting him through thick and thin.
But, one question that intrigues the reader till the end is why a character named Horlicks Samrat, in the book? Lodha explains, “Once, when I was in Bihar, my senior told me ‘Woh Horlickswa ko pakad liyo’. I kept thinking what kind of a name is that; so when I finally caught him, I realised that the so-called man has such a lean physique that he’ll fall at quite a distance if I slap him hard, and yet he is one of the most dreaded criminals. I asked him ‘Why are you known as Horlicks?’ and he replied ‘When I was growing up, everyone used to say repeatedly ‘Isko Horlicks pilao, Isko Horlicks pilao’, to the extent that I ultimately got named as Horlicks.”
Doesn’t this deserve to be spun into a Bollywood flick?
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