I play DSP Bholanath Singh in Jai Gangaajal - Prakash Jha in Kolkata

By Sovan Chakraborty/WBRINN

Prakash Jha in Kolkata
Prakash Jha in Kolkata

Kolkata, India, Jan 26 (Washington Bangla Radio) - National Award-winning film-maker Prakash Jha is getting ready to release his next venture ‘Jai Gangajaal’ starring Priyanka Chopra in the lead. Jha recently visited Kolkata to promote the movie that has put smiles on policewomen across India. Though Kolkata missed Priyanka Chopra, the director and his lead actor Manav Kaul (who plays the antagonist) made the press conference a memorable one.

Prakash Jha is known for making films on contemporary sociopolitical issues. He started off by expressing his warm affection for the City of Joy, getting nostalgic of his earlier days in Kolkata. He said his inspirations for films originated from this part of the country, mentioning Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Rittwik Ghatak.

Jai Gangaajal applauds policewomen, meets anti-terrorism squad

Talking of Jai Gangaajal, the director clarified this movie is not a prequel or sequel of his 2003 Ajay Devgn starrer Gangaajal. Rather his new Hindi movie unfolds a new chapter on the big screen about society-police relationship.

On being asked  about bringing in a female protagonist, Jha said, “According to the story a corrupt MLA wanted a weak Superintendent of Police who could easily be manipulated. So a female character suited the situation best. But later SP Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) turned out to be a no-nonsense cop who lives up to the honor of wearing the Khaki (Indian Police Uniform).”

The director said he has seen a lot of women officers and knows around fifty of them personally. He has tapped into their real-life experiences to build the character of Priyanka Chopra.

This film will also see the acting debut of Prakash Jha as DSP Bholanath Singh. According to the director, DSP Singh is a man who has compromised and given in to matters as they are, trying to keep all sides pretty balanced.

Jha said about his on-screen acting debut, “I never stopped acting, ever. This time I only did it on screen for the people.” He admitted it was quite a challenge in itself and grades himself as a "good beginner".

Prakash Jha and Priyanka Chopra (WBRi File Photo)
Prakash Jha and Priyanka Chopra (WBRi File Photo)

When asked if Prakash Jha is keen to do films with other directors as actors, he said he already has offers, and is looking forward to any befitting opportunities he can avail. “Enactment of police officers reflects of the law and order situation in, and the film is a reflection of our times. Unfortunately Police in India are often seen with a negative eye,” Jha added.

So he tries to depict an honest cop in his film for the audience to have an optimistic view of the cops and believe in them.

Jha also shared his experiences of shooting which took place in Bhopal over a month and a half.

"Jai Gangaajal" cleared with two minor changes by Film Certification Appellate Tribunal of Censor Board Of Film Certification (India)

Jha then dwelt on the trouble he encountered with the Indian film censor board which wanted several cuts in the film and dub out several words with beeps. The filmmaker had since moved the tribunal and has come out with flying colors with only two minor edits requested. In a country where government-controlled film censorship is the law, Jha strongly said “There is no necessity for the Censor Board as people already know the good from the bad. If a hundred years ago no Censor Board was required, today also there no requirement of it.”

Prakash Jha and Manav Kaul in Kolkata
Prakash Jha and Manav Kaul in Kolkata

Manav Kaul plays the role of a corrupt politician MLA Bablu Pandey of Bankipur (the main antagonist of the film). Kaul was present at the event next to Jha and shared his experiences of the sessions prior to shooting which he had with the director over the script of the film. He said he used as reference real life politicians he had seen in his younger years to enact the character.

Prakash Jha also has started working on Rajneeti 2 recently and admits that he is very much concerned about student-violence and politics all over India. He also cited examples of Kota where students are committing suicides every week and expressed his worry, saying it is high time such issues were worked on actively.

We are all eagerly waiting to watch Prakash Jha's character of IPS SP Abha Mathur played by Priyanka Chopra take on crime, politics, land-grabbing militia and farmer suicides in the wilderness of central India. There is little doubt the maker of Aarakshan, Satyagraha, Rajneeti, Gangaajal and more will rattle Indian cinema soon.

Watch the Jai Gangaajal (2016) Hindi film trailer »