‘I Have Always Been Interested in Social Movements’

Prakash Jha

In a chat with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7's Walk the Talk, filmmaker Prakash Jha talks about his films, politics and his passion for the 'real India'

My guest is a wonderful filmmaker, who, for one, is not afraid of messing with the grimy India, but has also found the perfect balance between the shiny and the grimy, and if I may say so now, also the slimy. Prakash Jha, you are a brave man!

Thank you for that introduction. One has been seeing the way India has been developing. Year after year, we talk about the great shining India, the growth rates, etc. I belong to a village in Betia (Bihar). You have to get 2 km off any expressway in this country ― four lanes or seven lanes ― to see the real India. You know, 75-77 per cent of the population of this country is still looking for opportunities, still trying to understand what all this growth is about. The real India continuously engages my mind. Any development, whether it is the Mandal Commission or free-market economy or any kind of social change, it engrosses me. I try to study it and see what effect it has on the grassroots and try to find stories in it.

When you came to Mumbai, what were the surprises that awaited you?

Before Mumbai, I had lived in Delhi. I was in the university there and had some idea of a metropolitan city. I was doing physics honours, I gave that up, because we Biharis are genetically manufactured to become IAS or IPS officers. That's what my family expected me to do. And I thought if I became a graduate, there would be no way to escape that. So I thought I won't do my graduation and that would be an excuse for not becoming an IAS officer.

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