Said to be first ever effort of its kind, a full-length feature film, running over two hours and produced by Jharkhand police, ‘Pratyavartan & the Homecoming’, was released Friday across more than a dozen theatres in the state.
The movie, a brainchild of former Jharkhand Director General of Police, Rajiv Kumar, who retired recently, is aimed at making the youths impressed by Maoist ideology realise the futility of taking up arms against the state by ‘exposing the deterioration of moral values within the Left-Wing Extremist’.
Directed by Kolkata-based Nimu Bhaumik, the film largely stars police jawans, IPS officers and some actors from the Bengali cine-stars (who perform the main leads). Former DGP Kumar too plays himself in a short role.
Apart from being released in a multiplex in Ranchi, the movie was also released in around 10 districts like Lohardaga, Jamshedpur, Koderma, Bokaro and Hazaribagh, besides some other naxal-affected districts.
Talking to The Indian Express, the former DGP said: “It all started when I was DIG (Palamu) in 2002. I realised how Maoists would exploit the youth, particularly women. In order to sensitise people in the hinterlands about it, I wrote a play and got it to be performed in the interior areas. I carried that idea. In 2013, when the Ministry of Home Affairs suggested we use things like movies to counter Maoist propaganda, I dusted up the idea and wrote a script. Then, one thing led to another and the film was ready and certified by January 2015. In the mean time, I got transferred. Now, it has been released and it is great moment.”
The film revolves around the story of a young Maoist operative, who joins the counter-insurgency bandwagon attracted by their ideology. However, he saves a woman gangraped by the extremists and falls in love. The woman gradually convinces her to come back to the mainstream. The film, promising to be action-packed, also has three songs, a couple of them sung by Shaan, the famous Bollywood singer. It has been made on a budget of Rs 82 lakh and shot in districts like Latehar and the outskirts of Ranchi.
“Nobody is interested in speeches these days. Therefore, it is better to convey the message using popular media and movies in the hinterlands are still hugely popular,” said Latehar Superintendent of Police, Anoop Birthare, who has acted in the movie. “At that point, I was SP (Chatra). My role was that of DIG and I was supposed to take the SPs to task for allowing a few Maoist incidents in quick succession,” said Birthare over phone.
In fact, some of the IPS officers were also made to play journalists asking questions to the then DGP Rajiv Kumar, over the Maoist violence at the start of the film, which leads the audience into the story of the main character, Suraj. The film, however, could not release in Latehar, because there are no theatres. It got screened in neighbouring Lohardaga.
“The film has been released in Alka theatre, which is in town. This is the first day. Many people are not aware about it. But, we will try to make it popular in the villages, so that more and more people can come and watch it,” said Lohardaga SP Kartik S, who inaugurated the show.
Jharkhand police spokesperson M S Bhatia, who is also IG (Operations), said: “It is an important film for us. There were some teething problems with the distributors and exhibitors, as we are not professionals in this line. But now that it has been released, we will try and do everything possible to advertise this film.”