MUMBAI: Reformed criminals must be given a chance to start their lives afresh, says multi-talented Bollywood celebrity Farhan Akhtar, who essays the role of a prisoner in his latest film "Lucknow Central".
The movie, which released on Friday, is the tale of four prisoners who form a music band.
Farhan, who also sings in real life, is of the opinion that criminals, if reformed, must be accepted in society once they are out of the prison.
Asked if, as an individual, he would be open to employing a former prisoner in his company, Farhan told IANS here: "Well, we have to look at the larger picture. Yes, tomorrow if you are introducing me to someone saying he is looking for a job and had a criminal record, for a moment I might sit back and the thought might cross my mind that he was a criminal; I think that is only human.
"But we have to look at the larger picture for the betterment of our society. According to our laws, a person who commits a crime, goes to jail and, based on the severity and brutality of his crime, he serves a sentence -- and comes out as a reformed individual.
"We have to understand they are all normal people and that the crime (may have) happened in a moment of madness. So, accepting these people in the mainstream of society could inspire many not to attempt crime and we can build a better society."
There are prisons which give vocational training to prisoners, and Farhan feels what they learn must be put to better use.
"If we create a system where we give criminals a chance in jail to be trained in different vocational activities -- whether it is music, art, theatre or handicraft... then it makes complete sense that we should accept them back with their skill, as a reformed individual," added Farhan.
The film, helmed by Ranjit Tiwari, features actors like Diana Penty, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma, Inaamulhaq, Ravi Kishen, Ronit Roy and Deepak Dobriyal.
Music is one of the common threads between Gippy and Farhan, but the rest of the actors have diverse backgrounds.
Farhan said the creative collaboration was quite easy.
"The best part is that they came not just from different creative backgrounds but also from different parts of the country. While Rajesh Sharma is renowned in Kolkata's theatre world, Ravi Kishen stars in Bhojpuri films, Gippy is into Punjabi film and music, Deepak and Inaamulhaq are extremely good performers.
"So when you are performing with them, you also have to be on the top of your game. I think that is why the whole filming process was so exciting," shared Farhan.