Bokaro boy gets ticket to Bollywood - DAV alumnus to play slain JNU student activist in Mahesh Bhatt film set for shooting in Oct-Nov

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  • Published 16.06.10

Ranchi, June 15: For Imran Zahid, it has been a long journey from Bokaro to Bollywood.

The 30-year-old DAV School alumnus has outsmarted a bevy of tinsel stars to be handpicked by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt for the lead role in his upcoming venture, Chandu, a story based on the life of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student activist Chandrashekhar Prasad.

Being produced by Dubai-based businessman Irfan Izhar, the film is slated to start in October-November this year.

“It is the Indianness in Imran that attracted me. This trait has to be brought back to Indian cinema so that films made in the country can relate to its people,” Bhatt told The Telegraph from Mumbai. “Work on the script is on. Intensive research on the life of Prasad is being carried out,” he added.

Popularly known as Chandu, Prasad was the vice-president of the Bihar unit of All India Students’ Federation in the mid-Eighties. At JNU, he was elected vice-president of the students’ union in 1993-94 and continued as its president for two successive terms in 1994-95 and 1995-96. In 1995, he represented India at the UN-sponsored youth conference in Seoul.

After his stint at JNU, Chandu returned to Bihar as a full-time CPI(ML) activist. On March 31, 1997, he was shot dead at a street corner meeting in Siwan.

Talking to The Telegraph, Imran ‘Chandu’ Zahid said: “I had been into acting since my school days in Bokaro and had even won awards. After school, I did my BCom from Delhi University. While in college, I joined Arvind Gaur’s troupe and acted in many a play. But I had never dreamt of making it to Bollywood one day. I met Maheshji at a media workshop at India Club in Dubai in 2007. He was the chief guest and I a participant. He had then prodded me to take up acting as a career.”

The encounter with the acclaimed filmmaker in Dubai and his advice was all but forgotten very soon. “I remained busy with my own journalism and mass communication institute that I run at East of Kailash, Delhi,” Imran said.

“However in April this year, Maheshji sprang a surprise when he rang me early one morning and said I would play the lead role in his upcoming film, Chandu. We have been in touch since then. He is guiding me,” he added.

Imran said he was himself doing a lot of research on the life and times of Chandrashekhar Prasad. “I went to JNU, sat in the room at Jhelum Hostel where he stayed and spoke to his contemporaries to get an insight into the activist’s life.”

Though Imran moved to Delhi after his school, his parents still live in Bokaro. His father is a retired Bokaro Steel employee. “I visit my parents off and on. I love Bokaro, where I spent my childhood before I shifted to Delhi to do my BCom from Hindu College in 1997,” Imran said with a hint of nostalgia.

If past was perfect, for a bright future, the Bokaro lad has Bhatt. “He is my guardian now,” Imran smiled.