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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lights, camera, action in Red den

- Bhojpuri producer leads film crew to shoot at a village in Jehanabad

Patna, March 11: Hyder Kazmi has done something that not many would dare to — select a Maoist den in Jehan-abad district as the setting of his film.

For the first time in the history of Bihar, Kazmi and his crew came calling to Jehan-abad, a Naxalite stronghold, to shoot for his Bhojpuri film, Kaalia, at a village called Pali in Kako block. Ninety per cent of the film, produced by Kazmi, has been shot in Pali. The shooting began from February 14 and ended yesterday.

“We spent almost a month in the village. Our crew had 175 members, of whom 90 were from Mumbai. It was a challenging task to convince them and other artistes to come to Jehanabad. They were scared because of the Maoist activity in the district,” Kazmi, who is playing the lead role in the film, told The Telegraph.

Most Bhojpuri film producers choose Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Vai-shali, Ara, Buxar, Sasaram and Motihari as the locations for their films. But no filmmaker has ever been to Jehanabad to shoot. “No major untoward incident has occurred in Jehanabad during the regime of (chief minister) Nitish Kumar. The situation has improved considerably,” said the producer.

The director of the film, Shivram Yadav, also appeared happy with the location and the law and order arrangements. “It is a beautiful place and we got all support from the administration and the residents. I had read about the district in various newspapers and magazines. I was initially reluctant to visit Jehanabad. But Hyder told me that the situation has changed. He was right,” he added.

Kaalia is a film on the feudal system of the state and the farmers’ struggle against the influential landlords.