Theres nothing new as far as real to reel concept is concerned. Its been tried before and in some cases pursued to extreme limits as is the case with a strings of films on Bhagat Singh. Yet, Mahesh Bhatts Chandu is in an altogether different league and thats perhaps one of the reasons why the film is hitting the headlines in major national and regional newspapers and making its presence felt on major TV channels even before the story and cast is finalized and the finances of the film are in place.
Whats so unique about this film? Here are some answers:
Youth has been a buzz word in India for couple of decades now but theres been rarely a better youth icon than former JNU President Chandrashekhar Prasad (Chandu) who was brutally assassinated in 1997. In spite of all the tall claims about various initiatives for youth, the nation as a whole has failed to do any justice to the slain student leader. Cutting across all the student unions, most student leaders and faculty members are unanimous that there hasnt been anyone more charismatic than Chandu either before or after him. Even more surprising is the fact that there has been a massive outcry and media initiatives for ensuring justice to Jessica Lal, Priyadarshani Matto, and Nitish Katara but no one so far bothered to take up the cudgel on behalf of Chandu who paid with his life for challenging the nexus between the criminals and politicians and bringing about a social change in Bihar. The very politicians who have been in power for years on the plank of social justice are the ones who have deprived justice to Chandu, so the question is being asked whether this Mahesh Bhatt venture will unruffle feathers and put the spotlight back on those suspected to be behind Chandus assassination? Will there be a media recognition at long last that justice needs to be done to Chandu?
Most real to reel projects are driven with commercial motives but Mahesh Bhatt has been engaging himself with a view to addressing the contemporary issue of Naxalism and Maoism as all his life Chandu was drawing the attention of the nation that there would be violent consequences if India fails to grow with equity. There is no major threat to Indias unity and integrity than the Naxalite and Maoist violence and what the nation is missing right now the sanity of someone like Chandu to resolve the problem. Can we still find a leaf out of Chandus life and ideology to address the issues of social unrest and check the disintegration of the country into chaos and turmoil?
For weeks Mahesh Bhatt remained reticent about his choice of director for the film saying the director who could do justice to this subject are not so easily available in his backyard. Finally he reposed his faith in Ajay Kanchan whose documentary and corporate films on a range of socio-development, economic and political issues have caught the imagination of people not just in India but all over the world. A bold theme, a new comer actor and a new director, perhaps Mahesh Bhatt is the only one who could have taken such courageous steps.