Soha Ali Khan, whose upcoming movie 31st October is based on the anti-sikh riots of 1984 post assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was in the national Capital to promote the movie. The actor said that the reason to choose the movie were various– firstly, it is based on real life incidents, and secondly, her role in the movie is challenging. “As an actor I want to do a film where I can perform and my role can be remembered,” she said.
She is hopeful that her performance may stay with the people. She also accepted that her reasons were selfish but ofcourse there was a responsibility, which comes with playing the real life character for a real life incident on screen because lots of people have memories of that day. “The film is made with lot of respect and love, as it is both a tribute and salute to the people who lost their lives and to those too who risked their lives to help others survive that particular day.”
She also revealed that she had moved to Delhi in October 1984 with her family. She does not have memories of it as she was too young to remember, but has recollections of many heart wrenching stories from her mother Sharmila Tagore. “After the assassination, a Gurudwara in Pataudi was destroyed and the male members of thirteen families were killed,” she added. When asked how it felt to wait for the certification from the Central Board of Film Certification, she said it was “very frustrating”.
“As an artist, we do not believe in censorship. We believe in certification and I feel sometime they cut too much”, she commented. “They treat the audience like a child and it is very frustrating. This should be the audience who decide what to watch not the censor board,” she added. She told the media that the censors had asked for 40 cuts but later, settled for 9 cuts. “The director chose the diplomatic way to deal with the board, because this film is important to him. He did not get aggressive about it and gradually convinced the censor board.” When asked about her experience with co-star Vir Das, she said it was fun working with him.
“Everyone knows him as a comedian but this film will break that stereotype. Even though his character is very genial, and has got the sense of humor in this film but what happens to him is serious. So it is nice to see the characterisation of someone who is happy and fun loving suddenly face the odd situations.” Producer Harry Sachdeva who was also present at the press conference, explained that the making of the movie was a difficult task as it is based on a very sensitive matter. “It really required a lot of strength and courage to make a film on a subject which has never been attempted in last 31 years. I had to meet almost all the victims who suffered from that riot.” Their other challenges included making the urbanised Delhi look like old Delhi.
“So we made the set in a village near Ludhiana and took care of the costumes, people, houses and the roads. You will be living that era again when you watch the film,” he said. He also mentioned that there were people who didn’t want this film to be released referring to an incident when few people destroyed the sets. At last he made an announcement mentioning that he will donate all the earning of the movie to widows colony in Delhi.