N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE
New Delhi– It’s hard to think that bigotry persists in its entirety at a time when the globe is progressing and working for a peaceful and coexisting environment for all human diversity.
The film ‘Quota – The Reservation’, written and directed by Sanjiv Jaiswal with Anirudh Dave as the protagonist, tells the story of a first-year Dalit student who faces discrimination at the hands of an upper-caste student.
Dave, the lead actor, speaks exclusively to IANSlife about his experience:
Q: What are the challenges faced when one makes a film like ‘Quota’ which is based on a sensitive topic?
Anirudh: The concept comes with a huge responsibility since it’s based on a true incident which itself is sensitive. An actor has to play and perform the meaty role, irrespective of any religion or caste, performance-oriented roles and characters such as these are my preference. As an actor to be able to do justice is challenging. The challenge is to completely switch to the real character by getting into the skin of the emotions that the individual went through and being able to communicate the message to viewers.
Q: How did you prepare for this sensitive role?
Anirudh: As an actor getting emotionally involved is what takes a lot of time. Keeping the topic in mind and what the character has gone through, a whole lot of emotional turmoil is what one goes through, in this case it was the fight against discrimination. While shooting it, as well with other artists, we kept having discussions on the set to understand the journey and the situation at that time. The film has been released in 7 languages and has already won numerous nominations and wins to its credit including bagging the Best Foreign Film at the London Independent Film Awards and Best Feature Film at the Europe Film Festival, official selections to the renowned Berlin International Art Film Festival, Cannes World Film Festival, and others.
Q: What did you feel about the response from the audience?
Anirudh: Taking up a film that is a biopic is most challenging since you cannot create something of your own, one needs to follow and replicate what the character has been through. It has created conversations and that’s what an actor wants, he wants his audience to take out time and discuss the film or the character over a coffee. I hope through this film we will be able to create awareness and be able to remove the slab of discrimination which isn’t just based on religion or any community but is faced in every aspect. Today even as an actor though I am fortunately blessed to be exploring multiple platforms, a TV actor is not considered equal to Films, this needs to evolve. Let’s not segregate actors based on their platforms.
Q: Reason to take up the role?
Anirudh: As an actor one is hungry for challenging characters and stories that come with a strong message and there is nothing better than a story that is narrated by me and talks about a true incident. Sanjiv sir the writer and director of the film narrated the script to me and I was sold.
Q: What is the biggest learning you gained?
Anirudh: The experience of preparing and shooting for ‘Quota’ has been sensitive, and a learning for life. Through the film, I got to know something closely about what the Dalit community goes through which maybe we are unaware of till we experience it. Being discriminated against and being bullied and not given equal opportunity is heartbreaking. A lesson for me is I feel to stand for justice and equality.
Q: How has the film created a topic of discussion?
Anirudh: The topic itself comes with the idea of creating awareness and discussion. The film’s concept and subject is of utmost importance. It isn’t just the cast-based discrimination but ‘discrimination’ as a whole which one faces everywhere or anywhere. (IANS)