It was enlightening to portray Dr Ambedkar – Sachin Khedekar

Posted on Feb 27 2014 - 2:24pm by Shailesh Narwade
Director Shyam Benegal explaining a scene to actor Sachin Khedekar.

Director Shyam Benegal explaining a scene to actor Sachin Khedekar.

Starting 2nd of March this year, the Rajya Sabha TV will be telecasting a special series titled Samvidhaan – The Making of the Constitution of India. The 10-episode series, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal, will be televised every Sunday at 10 am for the next 10 weeks.

Samvidhaan, written by Shama Zaidi and Atul Tiwari, reconstructs the debates that took place before drafting of the Constitution of India. The show will be hosted by Swara Bhaskar.

Samvidhaan – The Making of the Constitution of India features actor Sachin Khedekar as Dr B R Ambedkar, Rajendra Gupta as Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dalip Tahil Ramani as Pt Jawaharla Nehru, Tom Alter as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Narendra Jha as Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Rajeshwari Sachdev as Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Atul Tiwari as Pt Govind Vallabh Pant besides Ila Arun, Anjan Shrivastava, Anjan Srivastava, Mohit Chauhan, Utkarsh Majumdar, Suzanne Bernert, Divya Dutta, K K Raina, Rajit Kapur, Harish Patel, Kennith Desai and Neeraj Kabi among other actors.

In an exclusive interview to Rang Marathi, celebrated Marathi actor Sachin Khedekar shares his experiences of portraying Dr Ambedkar and insists that the series is a must-watch for every Indian.

Were you the first choice to play Dr B R Ambedkar in Samvidhaan?

I learnt that Shyambabu (Shyam Benegal) and his team were working on their previous references of probable actors. There were many possibilities. The role came to me when the makers were convinced that I bear more resemblance to the looks and appearance of Dr Ambedkar.

Later on, Vikram Gaikwad corrected the look with his make-up expertise and Piya Benegal supported equally with costumes designing. And, as usual, Shyambabu helped a lot in understanding and living the character.

First Netaji Subhashchandra Bose and now Dr B R Ambedkar. How challenging it is to play a real-life character?

It’s a very big responsibility. You can take liberties while portraying a fictional character; but when it comes to real-life characters, you have to be very authentic because among the audience there are a few, who have seen or met that person in his or her lifetime. It’s a tough examination. I’m very proud to have played Bose and Ambedkar. It gave me opportunity to learn more about their lives and their works.

Samvidhaan shows around 27 months of deliberations that took place while drafting the Constitution of India. The members of the House at that time had spoken either in English or in Hindi. All those speeches are available in the Parliament Library. Samvidhaan is completely based on those speeches and it shows what actually had happened there. All the dialogues are real and nothing imaginary has been added to it.

During all those discussions, Dr Ambedkar had spoken mainly in English language only. The audio of his last speech of the session is also available in the library. From that audio, it appears as if he was addressing a big classroom. I was provided with that audio to study his original voice, the weight in his tone and his professorial style of speaking in English. That helped me immensely in adding authenticity to the character.

How was working with Shyam Benegal again?

Shyambabu is a studious director and a very good guide. He wants us to know and learn everything that he knows or understands about the film or a particular character. So when you are working with him, you are bound to study more and research more; and that information stays with you forever… I think this is best of the quality of a director.

Portraying Dr Ambedkar…

Dr Ambedkar’s life was full of struggle. He faced discrimination at all stages from his school days to his college education in foreign countries. It was only he, who fought so many odds and still stood the tallest. He was the first Indian to be conferred Doctorate in England. His speeches, his knowledge of law, and his writings are very insightful study material.

The political, economic and social conditions that we are witnessing today had been envisioned by Dr Ambedkar almost 65 years back. That time, he was representing a section of people but when it came to drafting the Constitution, he thought of the entire nation.

It was very enlightening to portray Dr Ambedkar.

How important it is for Indians to watch Samvidhaan?

We refer to a particular section or article of the Constitution while arguing for something but we know very les about it. We have no idea as what actually had happened when it was being drafted. India is a country of multiple languages, cultures and communities; and their justified inclusion as a one nation was a very challenging task. It’s impossible to show everything but we have tried to bring it in a comprised form in these 10 episodes. Samvidhaan will definitely educate the new generation about many aspects of the birth of India as a democratic nation.