Halla Bol based on Safdar Hashmi:Rajkumar Santoshi
Director Rajkumar Santoshi says his latest film Halla Bol is inspired by murdered theatre activist Safdar Hashmi and urges people to raise their voice against injustice.
"Halla Bol means attack and the film says that one must not take injustice lying down. I am not advocating violence in my film but talking about raising our voice against injustice," Santoshi told IANS in an e-mail interview.
The film will be released some time in August and stars Ajay Devgan, Pankaj Kapur and Vidya Balan in important roles.
Most of Santoshi's films are inspired by reality. And this one is no different. It is based on the late Safdar Hashmi - who was killed by political goons while trying to stage the play Halla Bol in Delhi in 1989.
Santoshi has made films like Family, Khakee, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Lajja, Pukar and China Gate".
"I have always followed my heart, instinct and conscience and made movies. At this point of time, I am awaiting the response to Halla Bol. I have made it with great love and affection," the director said.
The new film has Ajay playing the protagonist.
"The character required no stylised performance or a put on. I wanted to depict the star in a candid manner. I expected Ajay to do justice to the character and he hasn't let me down," said Santoshi, who feels that Ajay's talent hasn't been fully exploited yet.
Both Ajay and Santoshi bonded well in Khakee and Lajja and since then they have been trying to come together again but the plans didn't materialise. Finally, Santoshi managed to make Halla Bol with him.
"Ajay is a very good actor. Unfortunately, mainstream films have not tapped his talent enough. It is quite thrilling to see his histrionics slowly opening up in layers, film by film. He is a star performer on Indian celluloid."
Santoshi, who worked with Vidya for the first time, said: "Her role is very important. She plays Ajay's wife and her character goes through the trauma that every star wife goes through.
"Her character moves from being the girl next door who loves a struggling actor to becoming the love of his life to adjusting herself to the life of a star wife and coping with the trauma. Vidya has truly brought out the essence of the part she is playing. She has complemented Ajay's character with her performance."
Santoshi roped in Pankaj Kapur to play a reformed dacoit in
and says he wanted to cast the talented actor right from the beginning.
"He plays a reformed dacoit who is into street theatre and does issue-based plays. It is in his troupe that Ajay starts his career as an actor.
"I had Pankaj in my mind for the role and he has performed so well. He had grown a beard for three months to look genuine for his character in the film. I worked with him when I was assisting Govind Nihalani. I have immense respect for him as an actor for him," he said.
How did the director manage to can the film in 75 days in two schedules in over 65 locations? "That speaks for the efficiency of the production team. We planned well, so shot well."
Quite a few big stars are making special appearances in the film - Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Ruby Bhatia, Pahlaj Nihalani, Neeraj Vora, Tusshar Kapoor, Ranjit Kapoor, Mukesh Tiwari, Kareena Kapoor and Lekh Tandon.
"Yes, they are friends and they have just played themselves."
It seems to be Santoshi's turn to take up a theme that featured in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti. But the director says he had been toying with the idea for several years.
"I have been toying with the idea for the last four or five years. There is an urgent need for people to know what is happening around them and also to openly speak their mind. They should raise an issue and give a platform to it, only then things will change."
Asked about his future projects, he said: "I have never been the type to follow trends. For example, I made Ghayal when mostly musicals were being churned out. Even Andaaz Apna Apna did not follow any trend. I had made Damini, which showed that justice delayed was justice denied."