It seems destiny is in all smiles for Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bollywood’s most versatile contemporary actor. On one hand he has Salman Khan starrer BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN releasing on Eid festival; on the hand the trailer of his forthcoming film MANJHI – THE MOUNTAIN MAN has won rave reviews.
Directed by acknowledged art house filmmaker Ketan Mehta, MANJHI - THE MOUNTAIN MAN is a biopic on the life of ‘determined’ landless farmer from India, Dasrath Manjhi, who ‘single-handedly’ carved a path through a mountain in Gehlour Hills, Gaya district, Bihar, using just chisel, hammer and shovel!!!
Sounds impossible, isn’t it? But when the illustrious newspaper Tehelka, in 2007, broke the story to the world, readers were shocked.
Dasrath Manjhi in his interview to the newspaper said, “My wife, Faguni Devi, was seriously injured while crossing the hill to bring me water; I worked then on a farm across the hills. That was the day I decided to carve out a proper road through this hill.’
He continued, “At first, people ridiculed him and called me mad for taking on such a herculean task, but as time went by, few people lent me support by giving me food and helping me buy my tools.” “Now, all the people of the Gaya district have nothing but gratitude for me,” he informed with sense of pride.
Readers would be surprised to Manjhi worked from 1960 to 1982 day and night and eventually after 22 years broke down the hill and shortened the distance from 70 kilometres to just one kilometer. The path he curved is 360 foot long and 25 foot deep.
Speaking about the role Nawazuddin Siddiqui informs, “ When Ketan Mehta informed me about this man Dasrath Manjhi, who slogged for 22 years using just using elementary tools to pave a way into a mountain, I was excited and wished to meet him in person. But alas he expired in 2007 after completing the ‘impossible task’.”
“Nevertheless I met the villagers and Manjhi’s relative to learn the nuance of his character.”
“In fact while shooting the film I was so much emerged in the character that after the shoot I had to take leave. I went to Jaisalmer and some others places where people didn't know me, just to get a reality check, to feel like a normal person," Nawazuddin said at the trailer launch event of the movie.”