Film class

When director Anurag Kashyap was looking for someone to play Kalki Keochlin’s father in Dev.D,he turned to Sanjay Kumar at his alma mater,Hansraj College in Delhi.

Written by Pragya Kaushika | Published:March 8, 2009 10:31 pm

When Anurag Kashyap was casting for Dev.D,he turned to Hansraj College’s English teacher Sanjay Kumar

When director Anurag Kashyap was looking for someone to play Kalki Keochlin’s father in Dev.D,he turned to Sanjay Kumar at his alma mater,Hansraj College in Delhi. Kumar,a reader in the Hansarj’s Department of English,is also a theatre director and actor who runs a group called the ‘Pandies’ in Delhi. “We were rehearsing for a play that explores the right to elect when Anurag called and asked me to do this role for him. He later just mailed me a ticket,” remembers Kumar.

Kumar may have acted in a number of plays but this was his first film role and the experience he says was fantastic. He spent two-and-a half days with the crew shooting in Manali and Delhi. “The scenes where I was shown to be in Canada were shot in a place 15 km beyond Manali. The Delhi scenes were shot in Chattarpur,” he says.

Kumar’s association with Kashyap goes to the late Sixties when the latter,a student of Botany at Hansraj,expressed a keen interest in theatre. “This was the time when the dramatic society of Hansraj was evolving,” says Kumar. The theatre bond lived on long after Kashyap graduated.

Kumar’s role in Dev.D was small but he has been deluged by calls from his students. “I received over 200 calls and messages from my former students congratulating me for the role. I must have taught most of them about 10 to 12 years ago. My students were really happy to see me in a Bollywood movie,” he says.

Kumar is equally effusive in his praise of the film. “Dev.D is obviously about the young generation and their sexuality. However,what interests me more is the father and child relationship. The three fathers in the film though coming from different background were epitome of patriarchal figures,” says Kumar.

“In one scene when Kalki who plays Leni,a schoolgirl who becomes a call girl after she is involved in an MMS scandal,tells Dev that if only her father had understood her and stood by her,her fate would have been different. Instead he shot himself,” says Kumar who feels the father was the loser in the end.

“Kalki has played her part brilliantly,” says Kumar who once stayed at GB Road for a few weeks,researching for a play on sex workers.

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