Mumbai: Filmmaker Prakash Jha`s new movie ‘Chakravyuh’, which explores the Maoist insurgency, will see Om Puri playing a character similar to Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy. The veteran actor has read a lot on Ghandy`s life to relate to his role in a better way.
"Prakash Jha`s original plan was to take elements from Kobad Ghandy`s life and incorporate it into Om Puri`s character. But Om got progressively drawn into Kobad Ghandy`s life and teachings and urged Prakash to make his character as close to Kobad as possible," said a source close to the project.
Ghandy`s fascinating journey from Mumbai to the Naxalite jungles of Karnataka has flummoxed and fascinated social scientists. At 63, Ghandy`s saga continues to be an enigma of social protest and insurgency.
Om Puri, who`s currently in Canada, is silent about the character, but he doesn`t deny the parallels.
"I can`t deny that my character is akin to Kobad Ghandy. I play a professor and an educationist who gives up a cushy life to become a Maoist," he said.
Though Om Puri admits he is impressed by Ghandy`s teachings, the actor clarifies he doesn`t believe in Maoists` way of bringing social change.
"I truly believe in what Kobad said about the poor. He said, `I don`t believe in a democracy that doesn`t respect the poor.` I believe that," he said.
"However, I don`t subscribe to the Maoists` means of bringing social change. I don`t think blowing up railway tracks and damaging public property is the solution. Surely, there has to be a less violent means to bring about social change," he added.
Om Puri doesn`t fear any backlash for playing such a controversial character.
"I truly believe Maoists are not terrorists, but rebels. Having said that I play a character in the film, my own beliefs are separate. But if people see my voice speaking in unison with Kobad Ghandy about social equality, then I don`t mind his ideology being attributed to me," he said.
Jha is also guarded in comparing Om Puri with Kobad Ghandy. He said: "It`s too risky to compare characters in our films to real-life people. Someone, somewhere is bound to get angry. So let`s just say people are free to read similarities between Om`s character and the gentleman you`ve mentioned."
Apart from Om Puri, the film also features Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee and Kabir Bedi. ‘Chakravyuh’ is slated for release in October.