Tension is not the word for Chandrabhan.
But real-life Ravi Kissen is not quite like reel-life Chandrabhan.
He is tense, like any Bollywood star before a Friday release. For Ravi, Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal is not just another flick in his 120-odd film career. It’s the Bhojpuri superstar’s first Bollywood film in a lead role releasing next Friday.
“I know it is a big challenge for me as being my first Bollywood lead role, I am not sure about its success right now. First because of the abusive language which has been used in the film and second it deals with crime and underworld. Family audience normally avoid watching such films,” said Ravi, the on-screen Chandrabhan who along with three other petty criminals travel all the way from Bihar badlands to the Mumbai underworld. The story unfolds with how they are sucked into the greed-turns-evil plot in the city of supaari (contract killing).
In another way, it is also Ravi’s journey from Bihar to Bollywood but the actor had another reason to accept the offer. “The sole reason for accepting the offer was a bit crazy as I wanted the director and producer to visit Bihar for shooting a Bollywood film. I had to convince them that there is no law and order problem in the state. After a gap of almost five decades, a Bollywood film has been shot in a Bihar district. The last such film was Raj Kapoor-Waheeda Rehman starrer Teesri Kasam directed by Basu Bhattacharya in 1966,” he said.
Teesri Kasam was shot in Araria like Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal that was primarily canned in Purnea.
The film’s producer, Aparna Hoshing, claimed that even women would like the movie.
“I really do not know what others say but I am sure that everyone will like this film. It was important to be realistic in the film as these four youths come from a Bihar village and they are not properly educated. So you cannot expect a sophisticated language from the characters. When I visited Purnea district, I realised that even women speak the same language.”
She added: “I do not think that people can ignore this film and I have a gut feeling that women will like it most.”
Director Manish Vatsalya also supported the producer’s view. “I do not think that there is anything wrong in showing the real character and this is what the audience expect from any film. Most importantly, the censor board has given us certificate of a social film; nothing better can happen now. Ravi must be tensed as it’s his first Bollywood film in a lead role but I know he will get a very good response.”
Even as tension was writ large on his face, Ravi said: “At present, I am just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to get a good response.” Much like Chandrabhan, who is a bit “understanding among the whole battalion”. Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal is not just another story of on-screen survival of Chandrabhan but for Ravi, it’s off-screen, too.