About four months months ago,Narendra Dabholkar,whose life revolved around campaigning against superstitions,was at a film set near Nashik with director Sandeep Naware. Dabholkar may not have been an actor,but when the camera rolled,he was a natural artiste,delivering lines without breaks.
Even Dabholkars brief tryst with the film world was focused on promoting rational thought.
The film,titled Gadad Jambhal,which has been sent for various film festivals,tells the story of an adivasi community. It shows how they are more advanced than other communities in many aspects,but cannot fully become a part of the modern world because of widespread superstition.
Since he was the champion of anti-superstition and black magic law,I called and told him that rather than roping in an actor,I wanted him essay the role of a social worker in my movie. He was very willing because it was another way of reaching people, says Naware.
The film was shot at an adivasi village in Jawhar-Mokhda area and Naware remembers Dabholkar reaching faithfully on time. I expected the shoot with Dabholkar to take several hours since he had no background in acting. Soon after I shared the dialogues with him,Dabholkar was ready. It was like working with a seasoned actor, says Naware.
Even while shooting,the activist did not lose the opportunity to interact with locals. He was familiar with the tribal language and easily mingled with the adivasis. When he saw a pregnant woman,he and urged her to visit a government hospital for her delivery, says Naware.
News of his murder came as a shock to Naware. I spoke to him only two days ago and was supposed to meet him in Pune to discuss a special screening of the film. I cannot believe the man who became a mentor and friend is dead. Even so,his ideas cannot be silenced. They will always echo, he says.