If you haven’t heard of Gour Hari Das, the prolific Odiya freedom fighter who had to wage a second war against an indolent Indian bureaucracy and is still amongst the living, then this film is a must-watch for you. However, the movie is premiering in Britain before it reaches the Indian shores on August 14.
“Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File,” a biopic on the unsung hero is Anant Mahadevan’s directorial debut that is set to premier first at the London Indian Film Festival which will be held from July 16 to 23. The movie has already made a mark abroad with nominations, awards and gratifying response at the New York Indian Film Festival where it was scouted by Cary Sawhney, an award winning filmmaker and member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) who immediately requested that it be shown in the upcoming London film festival.
The movie revolves around Odiya freedom fighter Gour Hari Das and his long battle against an unsympathetic Indian bureaucracy to get his due recognition in an independent India. Das had joined the Indian freedom struggle against the British from his school days.
The movie, scripted by renowned journalist C P Surendran, casts Vinay Pathak as freedom fighter Gour Hari Das, and the famous Konkona Sen Sharma as his wife. Pathak went on to meet the living Das to get an idea of the role he would be essaying, “The important thing was not to do an impersonation but interpret Das correctly as an actor. So from his all white fashion statement to his tolerant yet witty demeanour, I studied the man carefully. To recreate a living personality that too, an unsung hero like Das, had to be carefully executed.”
Reports say that Konkana Sen Sharma, along with director Mahadevan will be attending the London Film festival to watch the movie for the first time after its release, “I’m so excited about the international premiere of ‘Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File’ in the UK, I’m hoping to be there with the director myself to present the film at the London Indian Film Festival. I’ll be watching the film for the first time with the audience there. The timing is great as we are releasing the film in August in India.” The cast includes Vinay Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Ranvir Shorey, Asrani, Rajit Kapur, Vipin Sharma, Saurabh Shukla, Vikram Gokhale, Mohan Kapur, Bharat Dabholkar and Siddharth Jadhav and others.
Some scenes in the movie have been dubbed in Hindi by Oscar-winning sound mixer Resul Pookutty who said, “Frankly, I was under the impression that director Anant was pulling a fast one on me when he asked me to dub a line for a tense scene in ‘Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File’, but when I saw that he was serious I was taken aback, more so since he wanted me to dub in Hindi. I was wary because I had a strong Malayalam accent. But Ananth was fine by that. The film now has my voice and I laugh every time I hear it, but Ananth considers it lucky.”
The movie is probably a stark picture of all such unsung heroes in India whose brave feats are overshadowed by the contemporary society and the appalling attitude and of the Indian bureaucracy.