After yoga tryst, reel role - Australian with 11-year Munger link to act in Dalit movie

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  • Published 1.12.14

Patna, Nov. 30: Charles Thomson (53), an Australian citizen, will soon act in a movie on Dalits.

But he is no stranger to Bihar. Born in Brisbane and settled in Sydney, Thomson’s tryst with Bihar began a year before the Emergency.

Speaking to The Telegraph by phone from Gurgaon, Thomson said: “I first went to Bihar in 1974, aged 13, during school holidays and spent six months at the Munger School of Yoga. When my father came to take me back, I told him I want to stay longer. I stayed for 11 years before returning to Sydney in 1985.”

He can speak Hindi, albeit with a foreign accent, and works with a private firm in Gurgaon. He is happy to work in the movie to be directed by Pawan K. Shrivastava of Chhapra in Saran. The movie, to be funded by crowds, is Pawan’s second after Naya Pata. Pawan drew inspiration from director Onir, whose film I Am was funded by crowds and went on to bag two national awards. In crowd funding money is raised through social media by reaching out to near and dear ones of the movie cast and crew. Pawan’s 93-minute Hindi-Bhojpuri film Naya Pata was released on June 27.

Thomson made several trips to India from 1985 to 2010 and, in between, took admission at the University of Technology Sydney to study immigration and constitutional law. However, six months later he left it to teach yoga at his mother’s yoga school before returning to India in July 2011 to join a private firm.

He said: “I had a Marathi friend, Shashank Ketkar, doing his MBA from Sydney but was interested in acting. Today, he is a famous Marathi actor. I landed the role through him, as he was looking for a foreigner who could speak Marathi as well as English. My first film 1909 was based on a true story. I played the role of then Nasik collector A.M.T. Jackson, who was shot dead by a revolutionary. The film was released in January this year.”

This would be his second film highlighting the issues Bhimrao Ambedkar raised for Dalits.