‘Safaibaaz’ hopes to scavenge awareness
Lucknow is witnessing the shooting of the movie ‘Safaibaaz’, being filmed at Raja Khera area near Sultanpur Road. The film stars Rajpal Yadav, Omkar Nath Manikpuri ‘Nattha’, Manpreet Dolly, Anupam Shyam, Johnny Lever and others.
Written, produced and directed by Dr Avneesh Singh, a UPite, the story deals with scavengers who are involved in manual cleaning of drains and manholes. The film is being shot since January 29 and only a few days of shooting remain.
“Nearly 95% of the shooting is being done in Lucknow and some little portions will be shot in Mumbai. Since the start we have shot in the Raja Khera area as this story is set some 20 years back. For three days we will shoot in the main city too,” said the director, who took voluntary retirement to follow his passion for film-making. He was working with ministry of labour.
“Working with the labour department, I have worked closely with occupational safety and health wing which states that 92% of unorganised sector works in a very unsafe matter. Our courts too have asked to stop the practice of manual scavenging but the practice is still being followed and results in mishaps and safai karamcharis die. We have picked this issue and are showing this through our film,” he said.
The director said that he has put all his savings into the film in order to spread awareness. “Our message is don’t hate the people who make you clean, healthy and hygienic. Also, I want the supervisors and contractors to be aware that they should keep safety arrangements for the workers,” he said. Instead of a hero or heroine, this film has multiple characters who build the film together, the director said.
Rajpal plays the role of Ghansa, a scavenger. “I have made people laugh with my roles and have played other emotions too. This one is very special as it shows a very pertinent social issue. Ismain katha bhi hai, vyatha bhi (The story depicts the plight). This is a very important film and a responsible role to play.”
The actor, who hails from Shahjahanpur, has done his acting schooling from Bhartendu Natya Academy in Lucknow. “Shooting here is very special as this is the place where I have learnt acting from 1992 to 94,” he said. He has multiple films lined up for release this year.
Female lead Manpreet Dolly has done three Punjabi films before making a Bollywood debut with this film. “I play the role of Dolly, who is the daughter of a scavenger (Rajpal Yadav). We read about scavengers dying during work but when I got this film I came to know about this reality and the plight of the workers.”
This is her first visit to Lucknow. “The kind of films (Punjabi) I have done so far have been very different but this is a very realistic film. I took a month-long workshop to get into the role and speak the Hindi dialect. Such realistic films make you learn a lot and help you grow as an actor,” says Manpreet.
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