It is a one-man-show for 52-year-old Arjun Sarja, the actor, director, producer and distributor of the tri-lingual film Jaihind 2 (released as Abhimanyu in Kannada). It is quite an achievement for the star to release his film in three languages down South. A sequel to Jaihind, the film will be released in 850 theatres in India as well as abroad. “I have distributed the movie throughout South India and places abroad like London, Dubai, Singapore Malayasia, Canada,” he says.
Currently on the move from one city to the next, he is happy to give this film his complete dedication. “Apart from directing it in three different languages, I felt happy that I have acted and debuted as a director for a Kannada film,” says Sarja.
This multi-talented actor believes that he has much to do and is feeling both excitement and fear as his film is about to hit the theatres. He describes this feeling saying, “Once in a while, I get scared watching the sea, so I don’t look at it and just jump straight in. And when I start swimming, I feel there are difficulties, but I also feel good at the same time. It is the same feeling with my film.”
Abhimanyu’s main plot is about the decline of the education system in India. Arjun Sarja explains how this film will have a large viewership. “According to my survey, around 70 to 75 per cent of children come from rural areas and study in government schools. This means that around 70 per cent of the Indian population is lagging behind and not getting good education. I represent those people, who are struggling for a basic education, their lives, their rights and their sorrows,” says Arjun.
The actor-director has his finger on the pulse of the industry and has made sure that he has combined the entertainment factor along with the realist element in his film. “There is a commercial element woven into the story along with its strong social message,” he says.
Interestingly, Arjun’s reason for taking up a subject like education was Dr Abdul Kalam. “I read a book written by Abdul Kalam where he describes an inauguration of a school in Hyderabad. There, he met a young girl who excelled in all her subjects. When he asked her what she wanted to do, she responded, ‘I want to be in India, but I want to be in a developed India. Abdul Kalam realised this little girl’s point of view and understood that the majority of India was still not developed. This became a cornerstone for Abdul Kalam’s vision for the education of children and in turn also inspired me,” he says
Since a topic like education has become a universal theme, he plans to use it in Bollywood as well. “At the moment I am making this film in three languages and thus completely covering the South. The moment I get a little more strength after the release, I will do this in Hindi as well,” he reveals.
Arjun who takes complete responsibility when he is a director, actor or even a producer in the film, goes through the same excitement while making this film in three languages. “I felt every scene was exciting because it is new and challenging, especially since we are presenting it in a different way,” he says.
Arjun’s parting shots, before he signs off is that his film is dedicated to Abdul Kalam as well as the Indian media. “Why I include the media will be known after people watch the film,” he says.
Surveen Chawla, Rahul Dev, Charlotte Claire, Gautham Sundarrajan, Ravi Kale, Vinaya Prasad form the star-studded cast of this important film which has a 20-crore budget.