A friend’s Facebook status stirred up an interesting conversation on the film Kevi Rite Jaish, leading to the ‘100 crore film’ doing the rounds these days and eventually concluding on the note that ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ was far better than those mindless potboilers we’re subjected to in the name of ‘family entertainers’. The conversation thread ended up with an invitation by Vidya Janakira Manan to meet up the Kevi Rite Jaish team up close and personal at Offside Lounge Vadodara.
Reluctantly, I approached the celebs and ‘strangers’ (believe me ‘virtual friends’ can appear to be completely strangers in real life no matter how much you must have chatted online) at the cozy get-together. I chose to carry my recently launched book, ‘Baker’s Dozen – a brew of short stories’ instead of the clichéd bouquet at the event.
A formal introduction led to few awkward ice-breaking conversations and photo-ops which seemed to lead nowhere. I was contemplating a quick exit after wishing the Kevi Rite Jaish team good luck and gifting my book but the conversation finally (and thankfully) started making sense. Little did I know that I’d end up chatting endlessly with the leading actor, Divyang Thakkar on movies, theatre, acting, and ‘jusso’ i.e. passion for acting and funnily, being asked for an autograph by Veronica Kalpana Gautam, the leading lady of the film, instead of me asking for hers.
Admittedly, Divyang Thakkar is one of the most down-to-earth guys I’ve ever come across. Simple to the core, this actor has an immense respect and flair for theatre art. The plays written by Manto have always been a source of inspiration for Divyang Thakkar, an Engineering student who finished his education just because he could convince his parents to let him pursue a career in acting.
Having wrapped the shoot for MTV Rush directed by Beejoy Nambiar (director of the movie Shaitan), Divyang Thakkar is all praise for the director and his commitment towards the craft of filmmaking. The 13-episode Rush on MTV is scheduled to go on air from 15th of July,2012, which is sure to be reminiscent of the successful Tele-series, Star Bestsellers which showcased Anurag Kashyap’s first short film, Last Train to Mahakali starring KK Menon (the film won ‘Special Jury Award’ at the Star Screen Award function held in 2000).
On being asked whether he’d be pursuing a career in Hindi films, Divyang Thakkar is quick to respond with a humble, “Well it depends on the script and role.” The actor has been featured in many television commercials, with the Cadbury’s ad being the latest one and is overwhelmed by the positive response that Kevi Rite Jaish is garnering from all across Gujarat.
“We had been to Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and now here at Vadodara. People have flocked to watch the film and have been generous with the compliments,” says Veronica Kalpana Gautam. Ask her why Kevi Rite Jaish couldn’t be made in Hindi and she quips, “It might be a very big comparison, but imagine watching Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali in Hindi. The impact that a regional film can make is incomparable to Hindi cinema. One always runs the risk of losing the regional flavour in translation.” The lady left me speechless as I couldn’t help but agree with her, especially because I have always been a huge fan of Satyajit Ray, be it his films or his short stories and essays on filmmaking. Veronica Kalpana Gautam is in no hurry of seeking roles in films, at least for a while, as she intends to complete her Masters in Linguistics. The actress has a flair for languages, right from Brazilian Portuguese, English English, Spanglish, Esperanto, Gujarati, to Hindustani. Having watched the film Kevi Rite Jaish twice, I could safely say that she excels at the visual language as well.
Rushal Jain, the Co-producer of Kevi Rite Jaish and Director-Marketing & Communication of Cineman Productions Pvt. Ltd., shared his views on Vadodara as a cultural hub, where every cultural program is well-received, which he believes is perhaps because of the presence of the royal family in the city. A citizen of Ahmedabad, Rushal Jain looked forward to meeting and interacting with the film’s audience one-on-one at Inox.
The team were about to leave for the promotion of Kevi Rite Jaish, hence had to put an abrupt end to an engaging conversation on theatre and films I was having with Divyang Thakkar. “Why don’t you join us?” asked the humble actor. I politely excused myself and wished them good luck for their future and congratulated them for taking Gujarati film industry to new heights. The only befitting way I could thank Vidya Janakira Manan for inviting me to meet such beautiful souls is by sharing this experience of a star-lit rendezvous.