Meet the reel Anna Hazare

Manish Gupta has cast well known character actor Manmauji to play social activist Anna Hazare on the big screen. Known for his comic roles in films like Azaad, Naseeb, Gautam Govinda, Paap Ki Duniya, Aankhen, Phir Hera Pheri to name some, the filmmaker found the actor’s looks strikingly similar to the Gandhian. 

Manish says, “I wanted the film to be very authentic. So I auditioned about 30 to 40 actors for the part of Prasanna Sathe, popularly known as Anna Sathe in my film. And I found that Manmauji looked exactly like Anna Hazare, in terms of physical appearance.”

Manmauji in a still from the movie and Anna Hazare

However, it wasn’t easy getting Manmauji into Anna’s character. According to Manish, since the actor has played comic roles so far, he had to ensure that the seriousness of Anna Sathe was maintained. “The way Manmauji walks, carries himself, you’ll think it’s Anna himself. What also helps is the kind of simple person Manmauji is in real life,” points out the director.

Speaking about naming his protagonist Prasanna Sathe, Manish concedes it was to avoid legal complications. He admits, “In fact, I’m unabashedly lambasting the government and even the opposition parties that try to use Anna against the ruling party. But again, though I’ve used fictitious names for the parties, you will understand who I’m referring to when you see the movie.”

Surprisingly, the film even questions Anna Hazare’s movements. However, Manish declines to reveal the details for now. “Yes, the film is about corruption and it shows that no one is honest.

While Prasanna Sathey claims that he’s not Anna Hazare, he also feels that the veteran Gandhian’s movements are very idealistic. And some things he wants are not possible in real life,” is all he’s willing to say for now.

Needless to say the filmmaker is aware that his project could rake up a controversy. “It’s a very blatant movie. But that’s the case with all my movies. I guess I’ll have to fight to get this one released too,” he sums up.

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