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Anna Hazare talks violence at film screening!

Last updated on: January 25, 2012 14:37 IST

Anna Hazare talks violence at film screening!

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Sonil Dedhia in Ralegaon Siddhi

In a first of its kind, Kisan Baburao 'Anna' Hazare watched a special screening of the Hindi film Gali Gali Chor Hain in his village, Ralegaon Siddhi.

Sonil Dedhia and photographer Hitesh Harisinghani captured the moment for Rediff.com

"When the tolerance level of the common man ends, the only resort that he is left with is to give a tight slap, irrespective of how powerful the person (receiving the slap) is. This is the only road open for common people."

So declared Kisan Baburao 'Anna' Hazare after watching the Akshaye Khanna-starrer Gali Gali Chor Hain, a film based on an Indian's fight against corruption.

I was quite shocked to hear this advice from someone who claims he is a Gandhian.

This is not the first time Hazare has spoken the language of violence. Last year, he recommended people who drink alcohol should be beaten and humiliated in public.

'Only one slap?' was Hazare's initial reaction when reporters told him that Union Minister Sharad Pawar -- his old enemy -- had been slapped in New Delhi.

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Image: Anna Hazare with the Gali Gali Chor Hain team
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'We wanted Anna Hazare to give us his blessing'

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Gali Gali Chor Hain was screened in Hazare's village Ralegan Sidhi, about 250 km north of Mumbai. Its producers wanted Hazare's stamp of approval for their film.

The lead actors -- Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran and Mugdha Godse -- were present for the screening along with director Rumi Jaffrey and producers Nitin Manmohan and Sanjay Punamija.

"We wanted Anna Hazare to watch the movie," Jaffrey said, "and give us his blessing as our story deals with fighting corruption, which is his vision."

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Image: Akshaye Khanna greets Anna Hazare
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'Our film is a small attempt to show how a common man fights corruption'

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The slap mentioned in the first slide is the way Akshaye's character deals with corruption. He slaps a policeman and a politician in the film.

"Our film is a small attempt to show how a common man fights corruption," Akshaye, who hasn't been seen on the screen in a while, said.

"We thought the first person who should watch the film should be Anna Hazare," Akshaye, whose father Vinod Khanna was a three-term Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Punjab, said.

"He and his village gave us the opportunity to showcase the film and I am very delighted."

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Image: Mugdha Godse
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'If Annaji likes the film, it means the whole nation will like it!'

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Since the village does not have a movie hall, special arrangements were made to screen the film at 8 pm.

A crowd of about 2,000 people turned up to watch the film, and its stars.

One viewer, Jayant Pawar, 19, said excitedly, "We love Annaji. If he likes the film, it means the whole nation will like it!"

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Image: The villagers cheered the film and its stars
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
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'So many people have been victims of corruption. I hope this film inspires them'

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"I am thankful to the team of Gali Gali Chor Hain, who came to a small village like Ralegan Siddhi to showcase their film," Hazare said.

"I am confident that this film will enlighten the youth of our country to fight corruption. The power of the youth is the power of our nation. If they wake up, the future of our country will be bright.

"So many people have been victims of corruption. I hope this film inspires them," Hazare added.

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Image: Anna Hazare
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'I am a great admirer of Anna Hazare'

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"Anna Hazare loved the film; he was laughing throughout. Whenever he would like a scene, he would tell me," Jaffrey said.

"I am a great admirer of Anna Hazare," pronounced actress Shriya Saran, reiterating what she told my senior colleague Patcy N last week. "I am really happy that he and the people from the village watched our film and liked it."

Was this part of the marketing strategy for the film? Akshaye claimed: "We just requested him, and he showed keen interest. I am really happy with the good response. What more can I ask for?"

Gali Gali Chor Hain releases on February 3.

Until last month, Hazare had not watched a film since 1970. Then, on a visit to Chennai in December, he was reported to have seen Mudhalvar Mahatma, a Tamil movie about Mahatma Gandhi becoming chief minister of Tamil Nadu.


Image: Shriya Saran
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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