The short film ‘Champaran Mutton’ has been in the news for some time now. Chandan Roy of ‘Panchayat’ fame is the face of the film, which reached the semi-finals of Oscar’s Student Academy Award. Chandan says cinema is not just entertainment. We will not just dance, sing or play music. If you shock or make someone think a little bit with your performance, both the film and the actor grow old. ‘Champaran Mutton’ is a film of this league. Excerpts from Chandan Roy’s conversation with Urmila Kori on the film, her career and struggles.
How did you get involved with ‘Champaran Mutton’?
It was a diploma film of FTI. Students who are there, have to give a film before passing. This movie is directed by Ranjan Kumar. After Panchayat I was doing some commercial films. Was associated with Zee web series ‘Jambaaz’ and sitcom ‘Misfit’. Meanwhile, Ranjan came near me. I told Ranjan, tell the story on a certain date. If the story is correct, it will be carried forward. Loved the story after hearing the script. It was very realistic. How much man yearns for basic things. The film has made it to the Student Oscars, adding to the excitement.
Even though the story is based on Bihar, what is the reason for shooting in Maharashtra instead of Bihar?
FTII has a rule to use cameras, equipment and other things within a radius of 180 meters. By the way, this movie is totally from Bihar. This movie is made in Bajika language. Bajjika is also spoken where I come from in Bihar. Ranjan, the director of the film, and I are both from Hajipur. Other people associated with this film are also from Bihar. The shooting of this film was completed in 12 days. These 12 days were very beautiful and beautiful.
What is the story of this movie?
He is a very backward caste youth. He is working on contract, but lost his job in Corona. Even after more than a year, he does not get a job. Meanwhile, the young man’s wife is going to be a mother for the second time. He wanted to eat mutton for a long time. The young man decides that he is going to cook his wife into mutton. How does he manage the money to make the mutton? This film is the story of that struggle. Mutton is like a movie metaphor. The film brings out the inconsistencies and injustices in the society through Mutton.
How would you describe Ranjan as a director?
The director of the film, Ranjan Kumar himself belongs to a Dalit family. He has seen life closely, it is also in his films. There is a romantic scene in the film, where my character wants to be romantic with his wife. But the wife refuses, so he tells her that he will send the child they have to a private school. From this it is understood that studying in a private school is a big issue for this society.
Is it news that no money has been taken for this film?
I do projects like this for myself, to refresh myself and keep a little bit of my humanity. I charge good money for movies, web series and ad films. I have suffered a lot. Gone are the days in Mumbai when he used to go to co-actor Raghubir Yadav’s house only for dinner. There is a gurdwara in seven bungalows, I have spent many days eating langar there. I charge a price for the bad times I’ve seen. When films like Champaran come, whose makers have talent but no money. So I think that such talents should be helped to move forward.
How did the spirit of struggle come into acting after leaving journalism?
I am sitting and talking to you in Lokhandwala, Mumbai. When I look back, the ten years I spent Running away to Mumbai without resigning from her journalism job in Delhi, this craze did not come suddenly. He was obsessed with Mumbai since childhood. I could only see Mumbai in the map of India. I wanted to kiss him when I saw a train going to Mumbai in Patna. I liked Mumbai very much. I also did journalism just to come to Mumbai, because I knew that people at home would not pay for Mumbai. That’s why I did a journalism course, so that I could earn some money. I was never afraid to come to Mumbai and fight. He knew that one day he had to die. I came with a cloak. If he wins it’s spring, if he loses it doesn’t matter.
How were the early days in Mumbai?
He was an acquaintance in the office. When he was in Mumbai he said that he would get me a house on rent when he came to Mumbai. He got a room in Versova. Then started giving auditions. I wandered for three months. I got my first chance in Discovery’s serial Baba Ramdev. Initially did a lot of TV. It was earning a little money, but Mumbai is a very expensive city. Two-and-a-half years of accumulated capital from a journalistic job ran out within the first five months in Mumbai. The rent here is very high. The broker also has to pay. Out of money, so find a place where I only pay rent, no deposit. However, within a few months, they were evicted from the house. This happened two or three times.
Are your family members happy with your performance?
My family is from military background. My grandfather had five brothers. Three were in the army. He has seen the wars of ’62, ’65 and ’71. Uncle has fought in Kargil. Dad is in the police. Mom thought I would at least become a constable, but I never applied for a government job as I wanted to do something in acting. My mother is a housewife. I am still very afraid of my father. My brother is a software engineer. Has two sisters. My parents have only watched my show ‘Panchayat’. They don’t mean much, they’re just happy that I stand on my own two feet and won’t ask them for money.
When will ‘Panchayat 3’ come?
Hopefully in late January. The shooting of five episodes has been completed. Three episodes left. He will be shooting in Sihore near Bhopal after the rains end.