Debutant director Manish Manikpuri’s film Aalaap talks about Naxalism in Chhattisgarh with Agnee’s folksy rock underlining its theme
Filmmaker Manish Manikpuri is deeply impacted by the music of his father,a folk singer,as well as the latters brushes with the Naxalites of Chhattisgarh while performing across the state. Every time my fathers troupe went to perform in places that were hit by Naxalite activities,they would be stopped by the rebels, he says. However,the troupe was given a safe passage and also an escort by the Naxalites after learning that they were artistes.
They have a lot of respect for artistes and would often ask my father about his art. For some reason,we believed that if we tried to change their ideology by using music rather than force and violence then they would be very receptive, says Manikpuri. Thats the reason,he felt inclined towards this subject for his first film,Aalaap .
Scheduled to release on July 27,the movie captures the lives of four young engineering college students who start their own rock band to spread the message of peace. It features actors such as Raghubir Yadav ,Pitobash Tripathi,Rituporna Sengputa,Vijay Raaz,Abhimanyu Singh and former Miss Sri Lanka Gamya Wijayadasa.
Aalaap was shot in those locations in Chattisgarh that have a history of Naxalism. In spite of shooting in such areas for 57 days,Manikpuri was never worried. However,he adds that the cast and the crew were cautious.
Tripathis reason for signing the film is a personal one. I am originally from Orissa and I have experienced the problem firsthand over there too. Hence,when Manish (Manikpuri) came to me with the script of the film,I said yes immediately, he says. He plays an introvert from a lower-middle class family,who has been forced into studying engineering,but all that he really wants to do is form his own rock band.
The movie marks the debut of the Indian rock band Agnee which has composed seven songs for it as music directors. Both Tripathi and Manikpuri say that the music is the key element that drives the storyline.
We wanted someone who can understand the angst of the troubled people in Chhattisgarh and also why did they go to the extent of turning against the government. The fact that they respect artistes,shows their humane side. The music was aimed at capturing these elements and Agnee have created unique sound for all the seven songs, says Manikpuri. The music is a fusion of folk with rock creating a sound that is very original and gels with the basic theme of the film.