Mumbai, June 21 (Calcutta Tube) At a time when the government is battling the Maoist menace in the country, actor-director Anant Mahadevan is ready to release his ‘Red Alert: The War Within’, for which he has taken original statements made by Maoist.
‘I want both the government and the Maoists to see the film,’ Mahadevan, who is releasing the film July 9, told IANS, adding ‘I think this is the time to release the film.’
‘Probably for the first time in Indian cinema you will get to hear dialogues which are actually spoken lines and not fabricated. We actually did extensive research. My writer Aruna Raje and I downloaded a lot of interviews with the Maoists and cops from the internet. Every line they spoke was volatile and we ended up using those lines,’ the director said.
‘Red Alert: The War Within’ has seasoned actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Vinod Khanna, Seema Biswas along with Suniel Shetty, Sameera Reddy and Ayesha Dharker.
The director was inspired to make the film after reading about the plight of a farmer who fell victim to the Maoist movement.
‘His experience was spell-binding, adventurous and moving. It mostly reflects the time we are living in. As it was a true story, I decided to show it exactly as it happened. The Maoist movement is also called ‘Red Alert’; so I kept that as the title of the film,’ said Mahadevan.
The film is about a farmer (played by Suniel) who needs money for his children’s education and starts a mess, but realises that the people coming to eat are Maoists.
‘His entire experience and how he evolves from it is the story of the film. It’s a drama and not a documentary,’ said Mahadevan.
Asked why he chose Suniel for the lead role, he said: ‘I needed an actor who would look like a farmer from Telangana and Suniel being a Mangalorian was the perfect choice.
‘But then that wasn’t enough because he had to be convinced. I had to push him because it was not a commercial film. I told him that this is for the global audiences and then he realised this was something totally different and that he has not done something like this in his entire career. So he agreed to do the film.’
The director also roped in real life journalists from Denmark. BNN channel shown in the film is Danish.
‘They had come down to make a documentary on Indian cinema and the functioning of Bollywood. On the day they landed, they wanted to visit the sets of ‘Red Alert’. I thought, I shouldn’t miss the opportunity. I filmed a scene with them.’
‘Red Alert: The War Within’ has travelled to four festivals. It was premiered at the Stuttgart Film Festival last August where it won the Director’s Vision award. Then it was screened at the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) where Suniel was honoured with the best actor award. It was also screened in Goa for the International Film Festival of India and Berlin film festival.
‘We are not making 2,000 prints for release because it is for a niche audience. But we have every reason to believe that people in Bihar will identify with the film as will those watching it in PVR multiplexes,’ he said.
Mahadevan has made romantic movies like ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar’ (2002) and ‘Dil Maange More’ (2004).
He started his career as a TV actor with serials like ‘Khandaan’ (1985) and ‘The Sword of Tipu Sultan’ (1989). He has featured in movies like ‘Baazigar’ (1993), ‘Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha’ (1998) and ‘Jogger’s Park’ (2003).
(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)