Boman Irani is going to be seen playing Child Right activist and Nobel Awardee Kailash Satyarthi in the film Jhalki. In an exclusive interview, the actor expressed his views on the film, his character, and issues related to kids.
What was your reaction after you heard the story?
When I said yes to the film before hearing the story, I did not know how many days they wanted me to shoot, where they will shoot , what is my role? When they told me I am going to play Kailash Satyarthi, I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know how would I do it. But when they said it is a story of the little girl in search of her brother, who is trafficked for child labour , so I was curious to know why machinery is not looking for it and she is alone searching for her brother. I found some irony in the story. I was convinced after hearing two lines. I don’t know what will be the outcome but I decided to do it.
Director Brahmanand S Singh to is intelligent. We shot the film near a village in Bananas. The temperature that time was around 48-49 degree. It is used to be so hot that I thought if I will breathe my lungs will melt. When we were shooting I did not feel that , but after the shoot, we used to get exhausted. They told me a hotel , where we stayed is not great, I said it did not matter to Kailash Satyarthi that time, so why will it matter to me. Just imagine the kind of beating he would get and hurt himself while fighting for those kids. There used to be a lot of dust and on the sets, we would wear a mask but it feels nice to get that experience as well. It helps you to stay rooted.
Do you manage to show this film to Kailash Satyarthi?
I have not managed to meet him as of now. I have read and seen his videos. But the makers managed to show him the film and he has really liked it. There is a shot in the film where the girl asks my character why didn’t you come before to help me? He really liked that and these people have added his video clip towards the end of the film where he is talking about this particular moment. They went to Delhi and then added it later.
Do you feel that even after doing a lot of work, some people still don’t know about Kailash Satyarthi and his work and he deserves a biopic of his own?
Yes, when I was doing interviews for this film , people would ask me what am I doing in this film? I would say I am playing Kailash Satyarthi and they would say who? I used to be speechless after that. I feel this film will spread awareness about his work. See every film is not made to make money. I do wish that this film should do well and the producers should get money. When people make Rs. 150 crores also they don’t manage to make money. But this is a small film and they are already showing it to so many people, so maybe not through ticket sells but from screens it will earn money. We are not promoting only this film but we are also talking about the situation of kids and Kailash Satyarthi. So if we manage to spread awareness about this then that is also fine with us. Somebody told me it will not hit the mark, I was like what mark Rs. 200-300 crore mark? But that is not what we want. If people get to know about Kailash Satyarthi and his work then we will hit the mark.
What are your views on the various problems, which kid’s face in today’s day and time?
Every generations will have their own problems. I am sure my grandfather must have told my father that things were different during his time, what you guys are doing now? My mother tells me that we used to do this and that and what you are doing is not right. But I personally feel it is a dangerous thing because our kids are becoming robotic and it is not just them, it is a family structure because people are sitting together and are always busy with their phones. Things have gone into a funny space. Kid’s entertainment life and physical activities have been limited to phones. Kids are glued to the phone and there is little advantage but a huge disadvantage of it. The plus point is that they get knowledge easily after few clicks but there is also access to rubbish, there is a lack of physical development.
How was it to play Farokh Engineer on screen?
He was the only commentator that time, so he was the only person, who saw his team starting with no hoppers to lifting the World Cup in 83. He was the guy, who was made fun of by others in the commentary box. I lived with him in Manchester and got to know him as well as spent some time with him. He used to feel sad when people would say that your team is going to get out of the tournament. After winning a few matches they will go back home. He would say no to them. But there is a journey for that character also and nothing is small in my mind.