0n 29 September 2006, four members, including two women, of a Dalit family were physically tortured and murdered over a land dispute at Khairlanji in Maharashtra’s Bhandara district. The incident triggered angry protests across the State and the issue was also taken up by human rights organisations. Six persons were later sentenced to death and two others to life imprisonment.
That heinous act of crime is now being brought on celluloid through Marathi film Khairlanjichya Mathyavar. The film, produced by industrialist and Padmashree awardee Ms Kalpana Saroj, is scheduled to release on February 7.
Talking exclusively to Rang Marathi, Ms Kalpana Saroj said, “Khairlanji massacre was a sad incident, where a poor family of downtrodden was killed. I decided to make a film and make people aware of the huge social injustice that was meted out in Khairlanji. We don’t want such incidents to happen in the society, and therefore, through Khairlanjichya Mathyavar, we want to spread Buddha’s message that enmity will only grow enmity, and that love and non-violence will lead to a peaceful and happy life.”
Film’s writer-director Raju Meshram said, “Kalpanaji wanted to make a film on this subject. She offered me to write and direct the film. Khairlanji case had become a national issue but the reason behind that massacre was very petty. Such criminal and anti-social mindset is deeply rooted everywhere in the country. It continues to happen somewhere, be it Khairlanji, Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata. And we as a society and as a system have failed to put a check on this dangerous criminal psychology. Through this film, we want to bring the Khairlanji issue to the fore and prevent repetition of such acts.”
When asked as why she wanted to give a message through a film, Ms Kalpana Saroj said, “Cinema has a big impact on people’s mind. Some people make films for entertainment while some want to give some social message. Khairlanjichya Mathyavar also highlights the issue of women’s safety, which is nowhere in our country. Today mothers are worried as whether the rickshaw-wala will safely bring back their girl children from school. Parents are very much concerned about the young girls, who are going out to colleges and offices. This is a very scary situation, which is prevailing in all parts of our country. And this could be stopped only when the society will learn to respect women,” she explained.
But were they afraid of getting into a controversy? Meshram said since the Khairlanji case was still under judicial process, they only based the story on the incident and took cinematic liberty to present it as a film.
“We want to show the causes of the incident. We don’t have intentions to interfere into the judicial process. And there is no question of controversy because we are only showing what has happened. We want to tell people that problems can be solved peacefully through constitutional methods. Killing someone is a crime and it can never be a solution for anything,” Meshram added.
Khairlanjichya Mathyavar will be releasing in around 80 to 90 screens, including single-screen theatres and multiplexes, across Maharashtra. “We are doing enough marketing to tell more and more people about the film. We are also planning to dub the film in other regional languages so that it reaches maximum people,” Ms Kalpana Saroj asserted.
Meshram informed that known actors like Kishori Shahane Vij, Milind Shinde and Dr Vilas Ujawane were cast only for a few leading roles while the remaining characters were played by around 50 to 60 actors from Vidarbha to bring authenticity to the film, which was entirely shot in Akola district. Moreover, Khairlanjichya Mathyavar has been made in international format so that it could be screened in other countries also, he added.
Replying a question on her banner’s future projects, she said, “I’m an industrialist. I don’t need to earn money from films. K S Creations will be making films that will compel people to think and develop a society of good citizens, who will also respect women and ensure their safety. This way I want to repay the society’s debt,” Ms Kalpana Saroj expressed.