By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) Shailendra Singh, producer-director of the short film “Kacche Din”, says that the story intends to show the reality and create awareness of the living conditions of migrant workers.
Several migrants labourers have lost their lives lately, trying to reach home by road amid the lockdown. Singh says he is heartbroken and hence felt the urge to tell the story.
Singh told IANS: “We use those poor people to build our lifestyle, our cities, our businesses, and when they are in trouble, we set an agenda to throw them away. If our administration had the minimum compassion to these people, they would have not died on the road. The real dark side of the system has come out this time.”
The story of the film revolves around a taxi driver who comes from Uttar Pradesh to earn a living in Mumbai.
While mentioning the inception of the story from a real-life incident, Singh said: “I have been living in the Worli area for years and I know how Mumbai and other metro cities are built by the migrant people. The lifestyle that we get seduced to, for coming to a big city and living here, is contributed by the underbelly of society — a section that we have turned blind to. When we sit and have lunch in a luxurious place, do we really think of the people who are bringing the food to the table?”
“People responsible for our comfortable lifestyle are living in the slums. While having lobsters, are we thinking about fishermen of Koliwada and Dharavi (Asia’s biggest slum, located in Mumbai) if they have a dignified life? When we sit in a cab, do we really take a moment to ask the driver ‘ bhaiya, kaise ho?’ I made the film to show the reality and create awareness among people about the real contributor of society.”
The film features Deepak Dobriyal, Yashpal Sharma, Teena Singh, and Ashrut Jain. According to the director, all actors came on board willingly and did not charge money to act in the film. The makers finished shooting the film in the real location over a weekend.
Sharing the thought behind the casting, Singh said: “I specifically wanted to cast Deepak as the protagonist. When we look at the actors like Deepak, Yashpal Sharma or even successful actors like Rajkummar Rao or Nawazuddin Siddiqui, we see how with the right kind of opportunity and great talent, these artists who have migrated from their native place to the city of dreams, found their space. The city is made of migrants in every sector. So when an actor like Deepak portrays a migrant worker, there is a certain amount of nuance he can bring to the table — perhaps from his own life experience. That is when people connect. I do not think anyone else could have done that.”
The film ‘Kacche Din’ is released on YouTube.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)