By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: This year one of the quietest and most underrated debutants was the late and lamented producer-director Ramanand Sagar’s grandson Akash Chopra.
The affable lad made his unsung debut under his dad Amrit Chopra’s direction in Rabba Main Kya Karoon.
Just months after his disastrous debut, Akash has sprung a surprise by making a thought-provoking haunting and topical short-film entitled The Interrogation Of Kartaar Singh. Recreating an incident from the ‘Khalistan’ movement, Akash gives a riveting performance in the title role and manages to create a powerhouse aura in just 13 minutes.
Laughs the shy young actor, “I guess that angry Kartaar Singh was there inside me. He couldn’t come out in my debut film. This short film is a shock to those who don’t know what happened during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.”
Since the film’s content is volatile, Akash plans to send his short-film to international film festivals. “I will take it to Cannes first and then to other festivals. It’s a little abstract in its cinematic appeal. Those who saw me in my debut film can’t believe that’s me as Kartaar Singh. This is definitely a new side to my personality. And it was challenge to bring Kartaar Singh out.”
The evocative edgy short-film recreates an episode from one of the most shameful episodes of Indian history.
“It was a play that I did around two years ago. The honest intention at the outset was to simply give the play a cinematic treatment. But as we shot it the film became very different from the play,” confesses Akash.
And now Akash waits for Kartaar Singh to take on his own life.
“He is a Sardar unlike any we see in our films. It’s very appealing to see the Sikh as heroic. But what about the darker side to the community’s existence that is swept under the carpet?” asks Akash with surprising maturity.