By Utpal Borpujari
After Nishikant Kamat’s “Mumbai Meri Jaan”, another film with the 2006 Mumbai train blasts is soon hitting the big screen, but “Ruslaan”, its director Mohan Sharma says, looks at the issue from a different point of view.
It was through the eyes of various people whose lives were directly or indirectly impacted by the blasts that one saw the story in “Mumbai Meri Jaan”. In “Ruslaan”, one would get to see the viewpoint of those who are victims of suspicion and persecution following the blasts just because they belong to a particular religion. Basically, it is a story about how perceptions, particularly misconceived ones, drive certain actions making life miserable for some people.
We see the story in this film through the eyes of Ruslaan, who is picked up for questioning after the blasts, even though he himself might have been a victim of the strike on the trains, in one of which he was a passenger. Sharma, who has earlier made two small-budget films titled “Avgat” and “26th July at Barista”, has taken up this sensitive subject as a means to reflect upon how the human psyche gets impacted by such incidents.
“While some of the earlier films have focused on the blasts, my film is not about the blasts but about the consequent impact of these blasts on the protagonist’s life. It is an exploration of the human psyche. It explores how people are forced to undergo traumatic situations because of mistaken identity,” says Sharma, who hails from Chandigarh and shifted to Mumbai to become a filmmaker after graduating from the Fine Arts College there.
The film, produced by Jagdish Sharma and Mukesh Sharma, has debutants Rajveer and Megha Chatterjee, the daughter of yesteryear’s actress Maushami Chatterjee, in the lead roles. Others in the cast include Asrani, S M Zaheer, Shahbaaz Khan, Smita Jaikar, Ganesh Yadav, Rajendra Sharma, Rajan Sharma, Prithvi Zutshi and Shabnam Kapoor.
The title of the film, explains Sharma, comes from an Arabic word which means “someone who is sent (for a particular task)”. The director says his film is about those innocent people whose lives change forever because they get mistakenly detained or arrested after tragedies like terrorist attacks. The film has been shot in Mumbai and Kashmir.
“The film shows how people take recourse to enmity and hatred but how finally love and brotherhood are the driving forces of a civilised society. It is a film meant for both the masses and the classes,” says Sharma, who is confident that with changing audience tastes, small films with strong content, such as “Ruslaan”, do have a future.