A Novel Idea

Samit Kakkad's film Uchalya is an adaptation of a book by the same and depicts a community that fights against prejudice

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: July 17, 2012 1:39:46 am

Samit Kakkad’s film Uchalya is an adaptation of a book by the same and depicts a community that fights against prejudice

They have no religion,caste,known respectable profession or a registered birth date.’ This is how filmmaker Samit Kakkad describes people from the Uchalya community. The filmmaker,who is adapting for screen Marathi writer Lakshman Gaikwad’s autobiographical novel by the same name,was inspired by what he read. The first three lines of the novel — ‘My name is Laxman Gaikwad. I was born in a vagabond family with no home,no land to plough,not even a caste to call our own’ – made him want to take to a larger audience the story of the Uchalya community who are considered thieves by birth.

The novel Uchalya highlights the plight of the community and is a first-hand account of a person from the community. “Branded a thief,Gaikwad managed to break all shackles to tell his story,” explains Kakkad. The autobiography,first published in 1987,has since been translated into Kannada,Bengali,Hindi and English languages.

The film will tell the story of the community that is mostly settled around Latur and the border between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Talking about the screenplay,which Kakkad is writing,he says,“Since it is Lakshman Gaikwad’s story,he is helping me with the screenplay. The nomadic existence of the community,their struggle for an honest life and also the manner in which they have been sidelined by the society until today,will all be depicted in the film.” Kakkad’s home production,Uchalya will go on the floors in August.

The film will also throw light on some facts about the community which remain largely unknown. For instance,the Uchalya community worships the razor blade as their deity. “The blade signifies Laxmi for them. They have used it to take jewellery off women and children,or to pick pockets and purses.” explains Kakkad. The film will also portray the reality of the community as of today,that these people have to report to the police twice a day to avoid being beaten up by them.”

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