Special story that touches a chord with prison life

Special story that touches a chord with prison life

By UDAY PRATAP SINGH | | 16 September, 2017
Lucknow Central, Ranjit Tiwari, Farhan AKhtar, Diana Penty, Rock On 2, Tihar Jail, cinema, bollywood
Diana Penty and Farhan Akhtar promoting their new film, Lucknow Central.
The star cast of the film Lucknow Central was recently in town for a promotional event, along with director Ranjit Tiwari. Guardian 20 caught up with the team for a chat about their new film.

Q. Music is always an intrinsic part of your life, Farhan. What was your reaction towards the fact that this film has music as part of the journey of the character you’re playing?

Farhan: Music is very inherently a part of the narrative. The character Kishan Mohan Girhotra is an aspiring musician and wants to be a music director in films. That was something which is appealing, yet at the same time, when I first heard about it I was like, “Should I do it?” I had just finished Rock On 2, so I was like, again a film with music and a band. I was thinking about doing something else but when I heard the script, it is much more than just about music and being a musician. It could apply to anybody’s dreams and passions. And it has been a wonderful journey.

Q. Diana, I read somewhere that this role is special for you. What is so special about the role?

Diana: The story is special, like Farhan said, it’s beautifully written. It is a hopeful, feel-good, fun journey. It’s about jail life, jail-break music, and it has a very interesting combination of ideas. Secondly, the character I play, she is quite a strong woman in a male world in this film at least. I always wanted to play something like this. I have not had that chance to play such characters before. It worked out well. I was very happy when I met Nikkhil Advani [the producter]—he gave me a one-liner about it, which got me hooked, and I really wanted to know more about it. It was an instant yes for me. This is the film I always wanted to be a part of. It is special and I think you will like it.

Q. What was the inspiration behind the film?

Ranjit: There was an article I once read on the subjects of jail and music together. It fascinated me when I was looking for a story for my film. Therefore, after that I went to producers and actors. The best part is that I’d had no idea about the concept where jails actually have bands. Then I did some research across the country. About what other jails do. There are so many jails! And then I saw a documentary on Tihar jail, where inmates are performing with bands like Menwhopause and Parikrama. It was great thing to see that jail administration is also providing platforms that help inmates to make their life better.

Q. Farhan, how was your experience when you met the prisoners in Tihar Jail?

Farhan: It was a great experience. It was amazing to see those smiling faces. Those people had been in jail, will be in jail for many more years. But we saw the joy they were getting while playing music for others. It was a remarkable thing. I am assuming they are in jail for committing some crime, having broken some hearts. But seeing them perform for others it seemed it was their way of giving back to society. This particular band there plays at various events like birthdays, weddings and so on. They are taken from the jail to these events. It is a great way of giving back to society, which they probably took a lot away from. It was very heartening to see.

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