A serial planned for television will put Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the league of emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka, projecting them as men who have done the oil-pressers community proud. Modi belongs to the Ghanchi community of oil-pressers in Gujarat.
The muhurat of serial Diye Jalte Hain took place in Gandhinagar Monday with the Prime Minister’s eldest brother Somnath, better known as Sombhai Modi, as guest. The muhurat shot was of a young Teli boy, unsure of his roots. “His mother tells him about the community’s glorious past, its heroes Chandragupta, Ashoka and Modiji,” Maharashtra-based producer Suresh Chaudhari said.
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The serial will narrate the history of the Ghanchi-Teli community by weaving biographies of its famous members. “It will give the message that one should be proud of the community that has produced so many great personalities,” Chaudhari said.
Part of the serial will be shot in Gujarat, Modi’s home town Vadnagar included. Vadnagar is the site of an ancient Buddhist monastery and the Taranga hills, a Jain pilgrimage destination. Chandragupta was said to have been from the Moriya tribe and converted to Jainism before his death. Grandson Ashoka embraced Buddhism after the bloodshed of the Kalinga war.
The Ghanchi community is classified as an OBC and the message of the serial is to instil pride in the community’s heritage.
The muhurat was performed in Pethapur, Gandhinagar. Sombhai told The Indian Express: “The serial is about our glorious past, the leaders that the community has produced. From Samrat Chandragupta Maurya and Samrat Ashoka, even a commoner like Gangu Teli, who are important in the history of India. It also includes a biography of the Prime Minister.”
Chaudhari, who also belongs to the oil-presser community, began researching for the serial some years ago. He claimed he had been in touch with Modi from the time he was Chief Minister of Gujarat. “We met him when he was Gujarat Chief Minister. Since then, we have been in touch. All these years, we did extensive research… While we have so many legendary personalities from the past, our biggest leader in the present is Modiji,” he said.
Serial director Saif Subedar said: “We are yet to do casting for the role of Modiji… just a muhurat shot was done today”. Chaudhari said they will decide within a month who plays Modi’s role. Sombhai said the director and the producer had approached him for the muhurat shot. “This will help tell the world the contribution of the community,” he said.
— (An earlier version of the report quoted the producer as saying the serial would be telecast on Doordarshan, a claim that turned out to be incorrect. Doordarshan said no such project was under consideration or had been approved for any of its channel.)