By Utpal Borpujari
The controversial Jamia Nagar encounter will soon get projected onto the big screen, as a crucial backdrop to the story of a Hindi film that would tell the story of a young girl caught in the crossfire as well as the fissures in the traditional Hindu-Muslim amity.
Set in a traditional village in eastern Uttar Pradesh with a mixed population like so many other villages in the country, the film, titled Qasid (The Messenger), will see the young Muslim girl caught in a metaphorical crossfire after her fiancé wrongly gets picked up by the police after the encounter just because he used to share a flat with the alleged terrorists.
“The whole story will be from the point of view of this girl whose fiancé has gone to Delhi for higher education, and how he gets embroiled in the controversy because he did not know that the boys originally from his village, with whom he is staying, had turned terrorists,” the film’s director Pankaj Shukla told Sakaal Times.
Shukla, who recently debuted with the hit Bhojpuri film Bhole Shankar starring Mithun Chakraborty, has drawn from his own childhood experiences in his village near Unnao in UP to create the story of the impact of recent incidents on the traditional amity between the two communities.
“There is a little boy in the film, who belongs to a Brahmin family, and who helps illiterate Muslims in writing letters just for fun. That was what I used to do as a child. The tensions in the society are seen through his eyes,” says Shukla about his venture that is likely to have seasoned actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Surekha Sikri in crucial roles.
The story, he said, would tackle the issue of innocent Muslims coming under the net of suspicion thanks to some educated youth from the community getting involved in fundamentalist activities.
Shukla, who is scouting for a young girl proficient in Kathak for the role of the protagonist and is considering a Bollywood star for a special appearance her fiancé, plans to shoot and release the film next year.
(An abridged version was carried in Sakaal Times, www.sakaaltimes.com, 20-10-2008)