Veteran actor-director Satish Kaushik who makes his debut in Haryanvi cinema with Choriyaan Choron Se Kam Nahi Hoti talks to Padma Iyer, about the film and more
Satish ji, you have been in the Hindi film industry for several decades and have also made films in Hindi. What prompted you to make a film in Haryanvi?
At the National Film Awards last year, Shekhar Kapur said that regional cinema is here to stay and it is the strength of Indian cinema. I agree with him completely. Regional cinema is going from strength to strength. I have travelled to a lot of film festivals and watched a lot regional films. I saw a film from Meghalaya and loved it so much that I acquired the rights and made it in Marathi. Look at how the Marathi industry has grown!
The Punjabi film industry is also doing well. And what can I say about Bhojpuri, it has created an identity for itself. Even other regional industries like Kannada, Odia and Bengali have reinvented themselves. Also, I am from Haryana. During my youth, we used to go to our village during our school holidays or for family functions.
The village will always be there in me and so I wanted to do something in Haryanvi. In fact, I have done a Haryanvi play called Sharbati. It is not like Haryanvi films have not been made before but there were no major players in the industry. During the last few years, I have been working with the government to get a film policy in place, so that people who want to make films in Haryanvi or want to make films in Haryana get benefits and subsidies.
There are 85 screens in the state, of which 65 are in Gurugram and Faridabad. And today everyone wants a piece of the entertainment pie. So, gradually, things are changing. We have addressed this too in the film policy.
As a language, Haryanvi is closer to Hindi than any other, which we have seen in films like Tanu Weds Manu, Dangal, Sultan even in Ram Lakhan. And these movies have been huge hits. So it was natural for me to decide to make a film in Haryanvi. Of course, I needed a good story and, at the same time, I needed someone to go on this journey with me. When I was travelling to Chandigarh with regard to the film policy, Subhashchandra Goyal ji had accompanied me. He too is from Haryana and by the end of the flight, Zee Studios was on board the film.
What was it about the story of Choriyaan Choron Se Kam Nahi Hoti that made you want to make this film?
I am from the Hindi film world. I have made many films and I have made entertaining films. I have been associated with comedy for a long time but my films have been serious, about human emotions. And all that experience worked in my favour while making this film. Audiences today have become very aware and you cannot serve them just about anything. You need to balance entertainment against issues and also come up with something the entire family can watch together.
That is why I chose the girl child as my subject. My director, Rajesh Babbar, came up with this subject. It was about a girl who withstands all her challenges in life to make a name for herself in society as well as in the eyes of her father. I thought we needed such a character and such a subject. The climax of the film is its strong point. Babbar has been my associate for seven of my films. So he understands me and my film aesthetic. So everything sort of came together and Choriyaan Choron Se Kam Nahi Hoti came about.
The film has been well received by whoever has seen it. Some have even compared it to Dangal, but there is no similarity between the two films. At the end of the day, this is also a father-daughter story and that is what works in the film’s favour.
What can you tell us about your character in the film?
I play a very strict and rude father. You will hate me when you see me in the film. But towards the end, the remorse he feels is what makes the role interesting. I am grateful that this film happened and Zee Studios came on board. The flight was a short one that Subhash ji and I took, but the ‘udaan’ is a long one.
What are your future plans? More films in Haryanvi?
Of course there are plans to make more movies. Actually, there are already a couple of subjects in the pipeline. My nephew Nishant and his wife Sashi are handling the production. And the purpose of the film is to start a movement for more films in Haryanvi. The Satish Kaushik Entertainment company has a vision to make films with good content and at affordable costs. We have made four films this year, including a film in Marathi and another one Kaagaz, which I directed.
My acting roles are happening, I am also doing a radio show. I have done so many things in so many fields. I came to Mumbai in 1979, with `800. And I am happy with how far I have come. I met Boney Kapoor, I have a friend like Anil Kapoor, I have worked with Javed Akhtar… So, overall, it has been a memorable journey so far. I want to continue doing out-of-the-box things so that I leave a legacy.