Girl sells Article 377 story to Hansal on internet

National award winning Shahid director Hansal Mehta, who describes himself as a subversive filmmaker, is all set to make a film on a gay character's journey from self-denial to social ostracism.

Interestingly the story came to Hansal through the internet.

"It's a story that was mailed to me by a girl called Ishani Banerji. It just blew my mind. I have to tell this story because marginalized people in our society always interest me," confesses the director whose next release Citylights is about a migrant couple's self-effacing anonymity in Mumbai.

"We've stopped seeing these nameless migrants in the cities. Their lives never concerned us. Now they've become invisible," says Hansal who has again cast Rajkummar Rao in the lead.

Hansal describes Citylights as a sequel to his year 2000 satire on migration Dil Pe Mat La Yaar. To portray abject poverty and ground-level austerity Rajkummar Rao and his leading lady Patralekha had to shoot under the harshest of circumstances.

Recounts Hansal, "My producers Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt were willing to provide all the comforts required for shooting. However I deliberately made them shoot under grueling conditions. No makeup van, no luxuries were allowed."

Hansal describes his partnership with the very talented Rajkummar Rao as "unbreakable".

However his next film about the gay hero won't star Rajkummar but Nawazuddin Siddiqui. "I need an older actor to play the gay character. The story takes the character through a very wide chronological arc. Nawaz is more suited to the character. But I am writing a very big biographical story for Rajkummar which would be set in the Hindi film industry during the 1950s. That's the film Rajkummar and I are doing next."

Marginal heroes would continue to haunt Hansal's cinema. In real life too the filmmaker is haunted by communal forces taking over the country.

Hansal recently signed a controversial petition pleading for voters to desist from voting for Narendra Modi.

Says Mehta, "I am not asking voters to not vote for Narendra Modi. I am asking them to vote against communal divisive forces. God save this country if such forces come into power."

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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