Voice of the common man

 

Shailja Kejriwal talks to Sangeeta Yadav about her foray into Bollywood as a writer with Madaari, inspired from real life incidents

For Shailja Kejriwal, an acclaimed scriptwriter, director and voice-over artist who has worked extensively in theatre, TV shows and film festivals, storytelling comes naturally. Driven by a passion to create content for the small screen, Kejriwal has now ventured into films with her story Madaari which is all set to release July 22, 2016.

“Sutapa, Irrfan’s wife, who is a good friend, and I were toying with the idea of producing something in the film space and we worked on three-four stories out of which Irrfan picked up Madaari and decided to be the co-producer and act as well. It was a dream run to convince people to come on board. We roped in other writers for screenplay dialogue and Nishikant Kamat locked the script to direct it. All this happened because of Irrfan,” Kejriwal says.

Madaari revolves around the relationship of father and son and how the father takes up to the loss of his son due to an accident.

“The film deals with the accountability and the father, who losses his son, decide to take it up to find out who is accountable for the loss that took place due to the collapse of under-construction bridge. Somebody has to be accountable for not doing their job well due to corruption or negligence,” Kejriwal says.

The story, which is loosely based on several real-life incidents, is something which was bothering her at a personal level. People tend to forget accidents which are a result of somebody’s greed or corruption. “It’s not based on any particular tragedy. In past 10 years, there must be 25 cases of under-construction flyovers falling and nothing has been done to prevent such accidents. Around 29 people lost their lives due to the collapse of the 2.2-km-long under-construction Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata. A bridge that collapsed in Hyderabad took the life of two students from Assam who had come to Hyderabad just a day before. We forgot about them and nobody is held accountable. It was sheer negligence and corruption but who is bothered about what the victim’s families are going through. The whole chain of responsibility gets broken,” Kejriwal tells you.

Irrfan’s character is an inspiration to some real life people who have taken concrete steps to deal with the issue.

“There is a father who goes everyday and fills the pot holes as he lost his son’s life while he was riding the bike. There are many such man-made disasters taking place due to corruption. Through this film, we are sending out a message to the people not to accept the loss as fate or accident. You need to raise your voice and with public pressure, things will change. I am sure there will be a solution to it. If we’ll keep quiet, it will just grow. We hope people will question these kinds of accidents and deaths,” Kejriwal says.

Talking about how the title of the film came up, she says: “Madaari was thought up by Irrfan and has a deeper meaning — how a common man acts like a monkey and does things which he is asked to do.”

Kejriwal feels that nobody could have done justice to the character of Nirmal Kumar other than Irrfan himself. “He had to portray different stages of emotions without becoming melodramatic. At the same time, live an ordinary man’s life which is the most difficult thing to do for an actor. He performed some scenes with such brevity. It is perhaps Irrfan’s best performances ever,” she says.

(The article got published in Sunday Pioneer – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/voice-of-the-common-man.html).

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