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Friday, February 21, 2020

Power buster

Even before he became the talk-of-the-town with his role in the National Award winning documentary, Katiyabaaz, its protagonist, Loha Singh was already a much-sought after man who dispels darkness in his hometown, Kanpur

Written by Farida Khanzada | Mumbai | Updated: August 29, 2014 1:00:20 am
Loha Singh Loha Singh

Q. 1 You play the role of a bijli chor in Katiyabaaz, which is also your profession in real life.

I work as an electrician in my hometown Kanpur. I have been doing this work for the past nine years, ever since I was 11 years old. The role that I play in the film is the same that I do in real life. Electricity is a basic necessity in the life of a common man, be it a poor or a rich man. Isliye mein katiya ka kaam karta hu. I chose this profession because that is what I could do. Aadmi jo pareshan hota hai toh koi bhi kaam de do woh karta hai.

Q. 2 But don’t you think this is illegal?

No, for me what I am doing is not bad. Mere liye yeh bahut sahi kaam bhi hai aur hum katle khiladi bhi hai. In fact, bijli (electricity) is afraid of me. (laughs) I can pull the electric wire with my teeth without any fear. I work with great diligence. A few days ago, a man came crying to me because his work was held up due to some electric problem. He had approached the electricity department but even after working the whole night, they could not solve his problem.

Q. 3Are you not afraid of being caught by the police?

I am a free bird, and it is impossible to catch me. Koi bhi hume dhoondh nahi payega. There are times when even my guru, Kadir, from whom I learnt this profession is unable to find me. The rich come in search of me at Roopam chauraha, because I am good at my work.

Q. 4 Have you ever been caught by the police?

Yes, I have been caught three times. The first two times, I was allowed to go, and the third time, a case was registered. The neighbourhood people bailed me out. So when they help me, why should I not reciprocate and work for them?

Q. 5 How did you get this role in Katiyabaaz?

Fahad bhaiya (the film’s co-director) was a worried man. The actor he had chosen to play the role in the film, had not turned up. A friend of mine, who knew him, asked me if I would do the film, and I agreed. When I reached Roopam chauraha, I saw several cameras and wondered why the media was there. Woh (Fahad Mustafa) upar khade the aur hum neeche. He asked me if I would act. I agreed after my friends coaxed me to do the film.

Q. 6 How was the experience working in the film?

Since, I had never faced the camera before, I did exactly what Fahad bhaiya and Deepti (Kakkar) didi asked me to do. I was completely flummoxed by what was happening around me. They made me stand before the camera and asked me to behave in a natural manner. I followed their instructions and did what they asked me to do. But ek din hum mood mein nahi the, toh hum bhaag ke chaurahe pe chale gaye. Mood isliye kharab hua kyu ki hume samajh mein nahi aa raha tha ke yeh log humse kya karwa rahe the, toh hum bole bhaiya abhi ruko hum kaam karke aa rahe hai aur bhaag gaye. Aur sab pareshan hume dundh rahe the. Badi hasi bhi aati thi picture banana mein aur maza bhi aaya.(laughs)

Q. 7 How many members are there in your family? Have you had any formal education?

We are seven of us. My parents, an older brother and his wife, two younger brothers and me. I have lived all my life in Kanpur aur Roopam chaurahe pe bachpan guzra hai. Where will I study? There is so much poverty in Kanpur. Garibi mein padahi kaha kar paate?

Q. 8 Is your real name Loha Singh?

No, people in the neighbourhood have given me this name, because of the work I do.

Q. 9 How much money do you earn in a month?

I make around Rs.1500. I do not charge much. If a rich man pesters me to do the work, I take money from him, but it’s not much. I usually take Rs.150 for each job. And if it is a poor man, I work free of cost. After all, roti-chatni hi toh khani hai.

Q. 10 Do you have frequent power cuts in Kanpur?

In Kanpur, electricity is a major problem. Out of 24 hours, we get electricity for only 10 hours. People who come from outside, find it very difficult to cope with the heat. Nobody is able to resolve this problem. Poora state bijli walo ke haath ki katputli hai.


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