Loha Singh, whose life is the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary on power-crisis in Kanpur, says he initially did not want to work in ‘Katiyabaaz‘ as he thought he would end up in jail.
Recalling his first meeting with directors Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa, Singh said he thought they were media persons who had come to do a sting operation on him for his work as a ‘katiyabaaz‘ (electricity thief).
“When I saw them with cameras, I told myself that I will be jailed today because these people will film me and show the footage to the whole country. I was scared to meet them.
“Later they told me they wanted to make a movie with me and about my work so after some thought I came on board. My people too dissuaded me from doing the film as they thought it will bring nothing else but trouble,” he told PTI.
Singh, however, is happy to have worked in the movie and has acquired the status of a celebrity among his friends, who were impressed to see his photographs on the posters.
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“I went ahead with the film and did not listen to anyone and now after seeing my posters and hoardings everywhere they tell me ‘please recommend us too for the next movie you sign’ and I laugh. My family and friends are very happy and proud of me,” Singh said.
The film came as the biggest surprise in Singh’s life as he never thought he would become an actor, given the humble background he comes from.
“I could not believe that people wanted to work with me. I enjoy watching films but it is impossible to even imagine that a small man from Kanpur, who steals electricity will play the lead in a film but it happened.
“Initially, everything used to look alien to me. In fact, I used to finish my work and run back home but slowly we all became close and it started feeling nice,” Singh said.
When asked how he prepared himself before facing the camera for the first time, Singh said he kept telling himself throughout the making of the film that he was handsome to avoid feeling nervous.
“I told myself that I looked handsome because otherwise I couldn’t have concentrated on my performance. I just followed instructions of the directors and gave my best. I have never done anything like this before but I decided I will do it properly,” said Singh, who is yet to watch the film and hence finds all the praise weird.
“It is a nice feeling that people have liked our film but I have not seen the film myself so I don’t know how to react to the praise. I want to show the film to my parents, brothers and my friends. It is weird and surreal,” Singh said.
The documentary, presented by Phantom Films and released through Globalistan, has created buzz for its humorous take on a serious situation and Singh has been praised for his performance but unmoved by the adulation, the young man says he would never leave his high-risk job for a life of glamour.
“I will never leave Kanpur and my work of ‘katiyabaazi’ for acting but I would not mind working in a film if somebody comes to Kanpur,” Singh said.
‘Katiyabaaz’, a National-award-winning documentary, released in cinemas on August 22.