| Ravi Kissen (centre) on the first day of the shoot of Marathi film Madhyam Varg in Mumbai on Sunday. Telegraph picture |
Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kissen is set to play a key role in a movie on middle-class Marathis at a time Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has threatened to term Biharis working in Mumbai “infiltrators”.
Kissen started shooting for Madhyam Varg (middle class), a two-hour Marathi flick, in Mumbai on Sunday.
Director Harry Fernandes approached the Bhojpuri star, who has featured in a number of Bollywood movies, to act in his film, which would be shot in Mumbai. It would release in January 2013.
Both the actor and the director told The Telegraph that the role would help bridge the gap between the people of Bihar and Maharashtra. Thackeray’s latest attack on the people of Bihar came after a furore over the arrest of a youth from Sitamarhi for his alleged role in the August 11 riots near Azad Maidan in Mumbai.
“An actor is not bound by barriers of language and region. His job is to perform under any circumstances, in any movie. He is supposed to do as directed. I do not care if an actor belongs to Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. For me, what matters is the talent of a person. I thought Kissen can do justice to the role, which is why I approached him,” Harry said over phone from Mumbai.
But why a Bhojpuri actor in a Marathi film?
“It is true that I could have taken a Marathi actor for the film, but I wanted to break the mindset that people from other states cannot act in a Marathi film. Our job is to get the best out of an actor, wherever he is from. Moreover, I do not find anything wrong in taking Bhojpuri actors in a Marathi film. It is absolutely fair,” he said.
Kissen sounded happy over his latest role, a first in a Marathi film. “I feel privileged that a Marathi director found me suitable for the character. It should send a message across to people that nobody should be hated on the basis of language or region,” the actor said.
Language is not a problem for Kissen, who has lived in Mumbai for almost two decades. “I have lived in Mumbai for 20 years. I have become quite familiar with the Marathi culture.
“There are many Marathis in the Bhojpuri industry, so what’s wrong if a Bhojpuri actor acts in a Marathi film?” Kissen, who will don the role of a journalist in the movie, asked.
He added that he was “upbeat” about his new role, as it would give him an opportunity to showcase his skills in the Marathi film industry.
Elaborating the film plot, director Harry said: “The movie is on the day-to-day problems faced by middle-class families. It will be shot in Mumbai. Today was the first day of the shoots and I am very excited. The script is good and I hope it turns out to be a good movie.”
Marathi actor Siddharth Jadhav, who has worked in Bollywood films like Golmaal and Golmaal Returns, would also act in the movie.