Freedom fighter Gaur Hari Das donates biopic royalties to charity
While real-life heroes generally do not shy away from quoting exorbitant amounts to lend their lives to the big screen, Gaur Hari Das has a special demand as far as his royalty payment goes. The 84-year-old freedom struggler, who forms the subject of Ananth Mahadevan's upcoming biopic titled 'Gour Hari Dastaan', has asked the makers to sign the Rs 1 lakh cheque in the name of a charitable organisation.
Gaur Hari Das (left) and Ananth Mahadevan
Says Mahadevan, "He was aware that we were not out to exploit his life's war in the fashion that Hindi films have become notorious for. He was shying away from quoting a figure, but when we insisted he smiled and said 'I leave it to you'. We told him what we had donated Rs 1 lakh to Sindhutai Sapkal and her ashram (after a biopic on her) and asked if he would be comfortable with the same amount. He asked us to sign the cheque in the name of a charity. He could have seen this as an opportunity to earn some money, but his benevolence was there for all to see."
Das, who originally hails from Odisha, admits he never brought up the subject of remuneration or rights purchase. "I told the makers that I was not in it for the money, but if, as they insisted, a contract had to be signed, I would leave it to their discretion. But I asked them to make out a cheque to one of my charity organisations, which they complied with. The real reward was the makers' honesty in seeing the project through and portraying the story with a lot of sensitivity," he says.
The movie is inspired by the real life story of Gaur Hari Das, a forgotten freedom fighter who fought two wars — one with the British and the other with his own government to procure a simple 'freedom fighter' certificate. The film was put together in 2011 following a new story highlighting Das' 30-year struggle to procure a document for his contributions to the country. The star cast includes Konkona Sen Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Tanishtha Chatterjee. It is slated for a pre-Independence Day release.