I played common man years before Arvind Kejriwal came: Manoj Kumar

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 13:32

New Delhi: Veteran actor Manoj Kumar, who played powerful roles as the quintessential common man, says the Aam Aadmi government has to fulfill its promises as the youth have a lot of expectation from them.

The 76-year-old actor says he is happy to see an awakening in people, especially the youth.

"The youth today are very aware and the public anger is simmering. I believe Arvind Kejriwal and his party is the first wave of Tsunami. For now, we don`t know what is behind it, whether the current is strong. He has taken a step and now he has to fulfill the promises he made. Kejriwal is like a new shirt, he is yet to go through the wash," Kumar said.

Kumar says he has already portrayed the things that are happening in politics today in his films `Yaadgaar` and `Upkaar`.

"I played the common man and his rise through politics in my film `Yaadgar` years before Kejriwal came. He is 47 years behind me. In the film, I played a man who revolts and unmasks black marketers, bad doctors and even defeats the ex-king in elections. My character was a man working in a factory," Kumar said.

The actor, real name Harikrishna Giri Goswami, made his debut with `Fashion` in 1957 but found success with 1962 movie `Hariyali Aur Raasta`. In a career spanning more than four decades, Kumar starred in and directed hits like `Upkaar`, `Purab Aur Paschim`, `Shor`, `10 Numberi` and `Kranti`.

Kumar credits his stardom to people but the actor is not very happy with the films that are being made today.

"The race here is which picture is selected for the Oscar though no picture has won anything there. To make our cinema international, we first need to make national movies. I find there is no emphasis on story or emotions now.

"We used to guarantee at least one week to our producer and distributor. Today, the stars are charging crores but they can`t guarantee even three days or the opening day houseful even though some of them are brilliant actors." 

Kumar says he made films on brain-drain, poverty and farmers` sufferings, topics that are still relevant.

"My films are not the films of rich men, they are the films of the common man. As a responsible citizen, if you see the plight of your countrymen, it haunts you and then the bitterness comes to you. You wonder why this is happening.

"I made `Purab Aur Paschim` on brain drain. A song I heard in my school became `Roti, Kapda Aur Makan`. `Upkaar` was inspired by Shashtriji`s (Lal Bahadur) slogan `Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan`," Kumar said.

The actor was born in Abbottabad (Pakistan) and came to Delhi after Partition before finally making it big in Mumbai film industry.

Walking down the memory lane, Kumar recalled how being displaced during the Partition and the subsequent poverty that his family saw in Delhi shaped his experiences.

"I remember my days in a refugee camp, being displaced during Partition and coming to Bombay. We saw riches in Lahore and saw poverty in Kingsway camp. Slowly we came up. But I have no regrets as those days enriched me and gave a lot of things to my films," Kumar said.

The actor likes to keep himself busy despite a troubling back. Kumar says he will soon make a movie even though he would be forced to sit in a chair the entire time.

"I refuse to look back. My only worry now is my back, it is troubling me a lot but I am a restless man. I want to die with my shoes on. I want to make a film even if I have to sit on a chair the whole time," he says.
Kumar`s last film was `Maidan-E-Jung` in 1995. 

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 13:34

comments powered by Disqus