New Delhi, June 6 (Calcutta Tube) While discussions on khap panchayat’s (caste council’s) demands to impose a complete ban on marriages within the same gotra or ancestral lineage are underway, Ajai Sinha is busy helming a film on the issue to create awareness.
‘I conceived the story in November when I read an article about the honour killing of two people – Manoj and Babli – who got married despite being of the same gotra. The incident happened just about 50 km away from the capital and it seemed like an interesting subject for a film to create awareness,’ Sinha told IANS on the phone from Mumbai.
‘These days a lot of people are opposing same caste marriages, leave alone same sub-caste ones. But killing people for this is sheer injustice,’ he added.
Titled ‘Khap – A Story Of Honour Killing’, it is a small budget movie to be made at of Rs.25-30 million. Sinha, who is also producing the film, has shot 90 percent of the movie in Wai, Saltal and Mumbai in Maharashtra with actors Om Puri, Yuvika Chaudhary, Govind Namdeo and Mohnish Behl. It is expected hit the screens by the end of July.
Haryana khap panchayats, which are dominated by the Jat community, are pushing for a complete ban on marriages in the same sub-caste. They are also demanding an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act for the purpose and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has indirectly extended his support too.
Sinha, known for making popular TV shows like ‘Hasratein’, ‘Astitva’ and ‘Ghar Ek Sapna’, says he is amending his storyline to keep it in tune with the current discussions and developments.
He assured that the story is not based on any single incident and that it is deeply inspired by several incidents of honour killings due to same-gotra marriages.
‘We did a lot of research in the areas where these rituals are prevalent. We spoke to the villagers, government officials, panchayat members to get a pulse of their attitude towards the issue and also to collect facts and inputs from there,’ he said.
Sinha has not set his film in any particular state or village.
‘I have interwoven the social evil into a love story. It is about a modern couple caught by the khap for marrying despite the same lineage. Even the name of the place where my story is set in is hypothetical. I didn’t want any controversy,’ he said.
Sinha feels the subject of the movie will cut across every kind of audience, irrespective of the class.
‘There are a lot of people in metropolitan areas who might not know about such killings. But people didn’t know much about ‘Titanic’ even, isn’t it? So those who are aware will like the movie and others will be informed about the issue through my film,’ he said in a confident tone.