Gour Hari Dastaan – bio-pic with a difference

Vinay Pathak (left) at the set

“Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File” is poet, novelist and journalist C. P. Surendran’s first shot as a screenplay writer. He says that the biopic is different because “it is biography of an unknown Indian”.

Vinay Pathak  (left) at the set
Vinay Pathak (left) at the set

In recent times, biopics on sports stars like Milkha Singh and Mary Kom rocked the box office.
“Biopics are difficult to make. What is crucial conflict point, you have to get into that. There has to be a central struggle around which you can spin the story. ‘Gour…’ is a biopic with a difference because it is biography of an unknown Indian,” Surendran told IANS on phone from Mumbai.
Directed by Ananth Mahadevan, the movie is based on the life of Odia freedom fighter Gour Hari Das and is made on a budget of approximately Rs.6 crore.
“This is my debut screenplay. The theme they gave me was of freedom fight and I didn’t like it. So, initially I declined the offer,” Surendran told IANS on phone from Mumbai.
“After sometime, they approached me again with a file of documents. And Ananth said let’s meet Gour,” he added.
Vinay Pathak will be seen as the freedom fighter, while Konkona Sen Sharma plays his wife. The cast also features Ranvir Shorey and Divya Dutta.
To ensure that audiences don’t get bored, the film which shows Gour’s struggle in two phases — one against the Britishers and the other against the Indian bureaucracy – has a contemporary touch to it.
“It is an old fight in new tones…My media experience has gone into making the film. The movie also includes issues like women’s rights, man-woman relationship, my personal experience of a son to my father…all have figured in the screenplay,” he said.
Biopics are the current flavour of the season, but Surendran says the success of such movies depends on a lot of factors such as budget, publicity and the importance of the person on whom the film is based.
“Milkha is an icon himself… In ‘Bhaag…’ you have so many special effects. There is repetitive slow motion too. Huge amount of money went into it. And they made the biopic of an accepted hero,” he said.
And the biopic that he worked on has no such ingredient.
Though it is yet to hit the screens, the movie seems to be on the right track as it has already been selected for the upcoming International Film Festival of India and the International Film Festival of Kerala.
The makers are looking at an early 2015 release.