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Red alert for Mahato?

Posted by Admin on October 11, 2009

Ever since Ananth Mahadevan won the Director’s Vision Awards at the sixth edition of Sttutgart Film Festival, headlines had begun chasing the stories of his making of Red Alert:

Sameera Reddy

Sameera Reddy

The War Within. Before the Indian audience gets to watch the film this December, Mahadevan wants to screen it for our Home Minister as well as for some Naxalite leaders. If things were within his control, the director would also want to organise a screening of his movie for Chhatradhar Mahato!

Ask Mahadevan why his film has become suddenly so relevant in West Bengal and he says, “While doing my research, I came across so many stories about Naxalites. I remember one such tale from Kolkata of a boy and girl who killed a superintendent of police and then took refuge in a doctor’s residence. From being taken as hostages, the doctor and his wife turned into surrogate parents for these two Naxalites. My scriptwriter, Sujit Sen, had narrated this true story to me. In a city that has so many such stories revolving, Red Alert becomes all the more pertinent as a film.”

However, Mahadevan is quick to clarify that his film should not be taken as a pro- Naxalite feature. “I’ve made this film like an unbiased reporter. Red Alert arouses the curiosity of the viewers towards this issue of war within. I condemn violence in any form though I have heard the views of those who indulge in it. Intellectual sympathisers can do their bit but these leaders claim that nothing changes unless they resort to violence. Many of them have built schools and hospitals and helped in the development of the backward classes. Even my driver from Jharkhand talks of how Naxalite leaders have built roads in his village. Now that their voices have been heard, it’s about time to sit across the table to resolve issues. Right from Jharkhand to Andhra Pradesh, the whole red belt area is bleeding,” Mahadevan says, adding, “Disillusionment has also crept in what with ideological differences within the dalams. Through interactions, I’ve tried to focus on the various layers of problems within the groups.”

With the trend of various groups raising protest just before a film’s release, does he fear the same for his movie? “Not a word in any of my film’s dialogues is fictional. When a Naxalite leader in my film says: ‘While terrorists are against the country, we are against the system,’ he is only articulating a voice in a raging debate of today. Recently, I was watching a television programme that showed police atrocities on the Naxal villages. For a moment, I thought it was only a clipping from my movie! Even my actors, including Sameera Reddy, Ayesha Dharker and Seema Biswas, have features that suit their roles. While Sameera plays a girl who was raped by a cop, Ayesha’s father is a tailor who stiches the outfits for the Naxalites. Before anyone objects to my film, I urge him or her to watch it. Since nothing is fabricated, how can questions be raised? I wish I could show Red Alert to Chhatradhar Mahato and his men. I’d also want to show it to the Home Minister.”
And what about the Central Board of Film Certification? “Well, they’ve watched it and not a single line in the film has been cut. My film has got an Adult certification.

Having made films like Aksar, Agar and Anamika, today I’m graduating in my thoughts. In my humble way, I’m trying graduate to making movies at the level of world cinema.”
Hope the cine-goers agree to that too! TOI


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