‘Chakravyuh’: Prakash Jha and his boys unplugged

By Shomini Sen | Updated: Oct 23, 2012, 19:58 PM IST

Shomini Sen

Known for making films on burning issues, Prakash Jha’s latest offering, ‘Chakravyuh’ is based on Naxals and the divide that exists between the haves and the have nots. While promoting their film in the capital recently, Jha along with his leading men Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol spoke candidly about Naxalism, films, the Indian mindset and why Jha never makes any romantic film. Here are the excerpts:

On the movie Chakravyuh

Prakash Jha: The film is about two friends and burning issues that are there in our society. It tries to talk about how the society is trapped in notions and the vicious circle that we are all trapped in and how we need to come out of it. The film talks about Naxalism, and tries to give everyone’s perspective- from the government’s point of view, the Naxal’s point of view.

On what inspires Prakash Jha to make films

Prakash Jha:Whatever happens around me fascinates me. I observe and eventually I make stories from them. It’s a constant challenge to present aspects of realism on celluloid. I also feel it’s a challenge to present humans and their emotions in the correct way on the big screen. In fact, some stories never make it to the big screen, just remain in my head.

On Abhay playing an anti-establishment

Abhay Deol: I have played anti-establishment before in ‘Oye Lucky LuckyOye’ but the genre was very different from this one. I empathies with the Naxals and their issues and my character in the film is very emotional, very passionate. For an actor it is a very good opportunity to have one mindset for one movie and then perhaps be exposed to something completely different in the other film and change that mindset.

On Prakash Jha’s involvement in the Naxal movement

Prakash Jha: The intensive research for the film started sometime in 2003. But personally I have been attached to the movement, like many others, for a long time. We all thought about the classless society when the movement started in the early 1970s. We have tried to keep it as real as possible in the film. I have had the opportunity to interact with several activists as well as CRPF jawans who are posted in areas infested by Naxals. My film tries to give a perspective of both the parties.

On why Prakash Jha only makes serious issue based films

Prakash Jha: Karan Johar hai na romantic films bananekeliye. (Karan Johar is there to make romantic films). If I ever make a romantic film, kuch ulta seedha hi hoga (something will certainly go wrong).

Abhay Deol: There are two romantic tracks in ‘Chakravyuh’. Quite significant to the story line, so he can make romantic films!

On Arjun Rampal playing a cop in the film

Arjun Rampal: He is a honest cop, very good human being and very fit.

Prakash Jha: Basically he has played a character which is diametrically opposite of what he is in real life!

Arjun(smiles and nods): Yes, exactly. Had to work really hard on the role.

On why ‘Chakravyuh’ should be watched

Arjun Rampal: It is a very important film in today’s times. The film narrates a story without being biased about anyone. We try to create a balance while presenting everyone’s point of view. The film entertains and educates you. I hope we can find a solution to this whole issue because otherwise it will become difficult for us to stay in this country after a few years.

Prakash Jha: The incidents are happening right now in your backyard. There were reports that indicated that Manesar incident that took place; it was instigated by the Naxal movement. Don’t forget, we ourselves have created a huge gap in the society where the money is in the hands of very few. In the name of development we have created 7 lane highways but if you go two kms from any highway, you will see the real India which hasn’t changed in 60 years. Even now, in my village there is no electricity.

On finding a solution to the problem of Naxalism

Arjun Rampal: First of all, we need to make everyone aware of the issues that these people face. My family watched the film recently with a lot of film personalities and after the show everyone was stunned. All of them had one question “What kind of a life are we all living now? Why are we paying tax? Is this the real India?” When we ask such question to ourselves, we will eventually find a solution to the problems. We are all aware of how brutal it is, how violent it is. People who want to do good are stopped. That is the problem. The day we bridge that divide, reduce the disparity level, we will automatically live a peaceful life.

Prakash Jha: It is very difficult to be judgmental and sit here and give a solution. Solution is to become compassionate and sit and talk and then act, because simply talking will not help now. We do not have democracy in this country; it is just a very vague form of democracy. The gap between the haves and the have nots is too big. The day we learn to respect our poor people, it will become a much better place.

Abhay Deol: We need to change the mindset. The day there is dignity of labour, things will fall into place. And the change has to start from you and me. There are blocks in our mind like casteism and religion, which we need to be get rid of.