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Election inspires Jha's next films

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | May 15, 2004 15:48 IST

Director Prakash Jha plans to make two films based in Bihar.

One will deal with the political scenario in the state; the second will spotlight kidnapping, which has become an industry of sorts in Bihar.

Both films are inspired by his recent experience in fighting the Lok Sabha election in one of India's most backward states.

ALSO SEE: 'The presiding officers were punching votes'

Jha is in the fray as an Independent candidate from Bihar's controversial Bettiah Lok Sabha constituency.

Though the Election Commission has ordered a repoll in 429 out of 1,146 booths in the constituency -- there were alleged irregularities in the election last month -- Jha has demanded the election be countermanded.

The Commission overruled his request; the repoll will be held on May 24.

Bettiah, located near India's border with Nepal, is infested with dacoits. Its other claim to fame is the fact that Mahatma Gandhi made his entry into Indian politics in 1917 from Bettiah.

Amongst Jha's opponents for the Bettiah parliamentary seat is the dreaded Rajan Tiwari, who is contesting the election from prison as an Independent candidate.

Jha, who was in Patna to mobilise support from other political parties for countermanding the Bettiah election, said he has firsthand experience of the ground realities and will use that information to make the two films.

"I will make films based on what I experienced during the campaign," he said. The films will be titled Apharan (Kidnapping) and Rajniti (Politics).

Like the title suggests, Apharan, which will go on the floors in July, looks at kidnapping and how it has become a lucrative industry in Bihar. The film will focus on how politicians play a major role in this infamous 'industry.' Ajay Devgan and Nana Patekar will star in the film.

Jha said most of the shooting would take place in and around Mumbai; parts of Apharan would also be filmed in the Diara region of Bihar's West Champaran district. The film is likely to be completed by the end of October

The theme of Jha's second film, Rajniti, is electoral politics. He did not reveal much, but said he plans to begin shooting for it early next year.

Jha, who is from Bihar, has made films on the social ills prevailing in his native state. Damul, Mrityudand and Gangaajal were appreciated for their realistic depiction of social exploitation and criminalisation of politics.

Rashtriya Janata Dal President Laloo Prasad Yadav, who is not too fond of Jha, said last week that the filmmaker had lost his mind in view of his impending haar (defeat) in the Lok Sabha election. This, he said, was why he was making false complaints about booth capturing to the Election Commission.

Calling Jha a bad director, Laloo said "Mumbaiya filmwallahs" whose films flop join politics out of desperation.

Jha says he will remain in politics and launch a political party soon. He added that he will contest the assembly election in Bihar, which are due next year.

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