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Govandi men tackle drugs through film

The eastern suburb of Govandi is battling some serious issues pertaining to its youth, from drug addiction, poverty, unemployment to rooftop travelling.

mumbai Updated: Aug 29, 2016 15:11 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
The group of boys behind ‘Govandi CID’ (Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

Once a drug addict, 22-year-old Rakesh Kumar has quit the habit for his passion -acting. It is this love for cinema that has got a group of boys behind ‘Govandi CID’, a local spin-off, to come up with their own movie tackling the menace of drugs.

Kumar is now known for his leaping kicks and stunts in the new movie named ‘Ek soch’ by the local Govandi boys. He is not a professional artiste but has learned these skills while shooting. “I was addicted to drugs and wanted to be free from it when I was introduced to the group. I wanted to change and this gave me an opportunity to start a new life,” said Kumar who is playing a villain role in the movie.

The eastern suburb of Govandi is battling some serious issues pertaining to its youth, from drug addiction, poverty, unemployment to rooftop travelling. Locals say that they are denied credit cards the moment they say they are from Govandi. Few, however, have decided to bring in a change. The credit goes to Aslam Siddiqui, 33, the actor-director who had started the initiative since 2012 with ‘Govandi CID’ after picking up a handy-cam. “The area has become infamous because of the drug menace but we want to show that there is a silver lining and the boys are Govandi are talented and can make their own movie,” said Siddiqui.

The film plot revolves around a group of friends battling a drug cartel. It shows the misery of family members of those embroiled in drugs, death due to drug overdose and how the youth is wiped out and lives are wasted.

There is lot that has changed since Govandi CID. The movie ‘Ek soch’ has been shot using a better digital camera. Siddiqui had a huge task in front of him to finding funds, actors and a screenplay writer. To his amazement, most of them were available locally. The actors range from college students to those who do small-time jobs but have flair in acting. “My core team comprise of non-professional actors who are working for free. Some were drug addicts themselves, who have now transferred into better men and are tackling drugs. Most of the scenes and situations in the film are inspired by real-life scenarios of these men,” said Siddiqui. The group has shot 13 out of the total 22 scenes of the movie which is little over an hour.

The movie is also testimony of the ‘jugaad’ (finding a way through frugal means) culture in India. While the group was discussing about the movie at a local ground in Govandi, a person saw hem. “When he learned that we are making a movie on drug menace, he offered us to use his house and verandah. The daily cups of tea offered to us by his wife kept us pushing. All these people who incidentally saw our efforts and offered help are the unsung heroes behind the movie,” said Siddiqui.

The group faced never ending problems as they jostled hard to manage the finances and arrange the logistics. Some well-wishers and friends came to the rescue by sponsoring money. A cop who learned about the group’s initiative too came forward and helped he group. “I use to post the pictures of shooting on social media after which many started to connect with us. Some helped us,” said Siddiqui. “A special thanks to the sponsors that I am inching closer to complete my movie. I got two cameras rented for Rs4,000 each as the owner was kind enough to lower the rates. The biggest task in front of me is to get the movie edited in the studio as the funds are drying up,” he added.

The group is unsure about what holds in the future for them. “We will keep a screening in Govandi and will upload the movie on Youtube channel like we did with Govandi CID.”

First Published: Aug 29, 2016 00:34 IST