New Delhi: Having traversed the festival circuit, Suniel Shetty starrer Maoist drama `Red Alert - The War Within` is releasing this Friday.
Based on a true story, it has been directed by Anant Mahadevan and also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Vinod Khanna, Seema Biswas, Gulshan Grover, Bhagyashree, Ashish Vidyarthi and Ayesha Dharker.
`Probably for the first time in Indian cinema you will get to hear dialogues which are actually spoken lines and not fabricated. We did extensive research. My writer Aruna Raje and I downloaded a lot of interviews between the Maoists and cops from the Internet. Every line they spoke was volatile and we ended up using those lines,` Mahadevan told reporters.
Suniel, on the other hand, condemned the increasing Maoist violence but insisted that they are not terrorists.
`Naxals are often helpless people who have been exploited...One cannot just eliminate or deal with them harshly because they are our own people and not terrorists,` he said.
`Red Alert...` revolves around Narasimha (Suniel), a poor farm labourer who desperately needs money to fund the education of his children. Somehow he finds himself in the midst of the Maoist movement working as a cook.
He soon graduates to weapons training, shootouts and kidnappings. Narasimha`s life becomes more complicated when a confrontation with the group leader (Ashish Vidyarthi) turns his world upside down and he is caught between the law and the militants.
Mahadevan was inspired to make the movie after reading about the plight of a farmer who fell victim to the Maoist movement. He insists that the film is based on impartial reports on the long drawn battle between the government and the Maoists.
`It`s based on absolutely unbiased reports. The government and the Maoists, both have to take the criticism and responsibility for what is happening. It`s a very fair and unbiased view on the consequences faced by a common man,` he said.
Added Seema: `Through this film we are not taking any sides. We are not supporting anyone because we ourselves don`t know, who is right and who is wrong. We are just telling a story and putting across an issue that needs to be dealt with.`
Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty turned down a role in the movie, as he felt that the original Maoist dialogues used in the film would make the viewers sympathise with the rebels and therefore make it an anti-establishment movie.
On the other hand, Sameera Reddy, known for her glamourous image, went through complete makeover for the movie.
`A transition from a simple girl to a Naxalite and picking up guns and fighting was difficult. It was also not easy to shoot in the jungles,` she said.
The film has travelled to the Stuttgart Film Festival, the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF), the International Film Festival of India and Berlin Film Festival. It picked up various awards on the festival circuit.
Shot and dubbed in four languages - English, Hindi, Telugu and Chattisgarhi, the film also has a Bengali version in the pipeline.
Considering its niche market, it is to be seen if this one manages to raise some awareness among the audience about the issue.