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31st October: Soha Ali Khan - Vir Das film will change perception about 1984 riots, say makers

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:47 IST

Actors Soha Ali Khan and Vir Das' upcoming project, 31st October, is touted to be a film that reveals the truth behind the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The film, directed by Harry Sachdeva, is based on the riots that rocked the nation after the 1984 assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Sachdeva said that he wanted to use the film to reveal the truth. He said:

"We all have been hearing about the 1984 riots. The aim behind making this film is to bring out the truth of riots. Till now no film has been made on this subject. So, I am glad that I will present this kind of a film to the audience for the first time."

Elaborating on the research that went into making the film, he said:

"We met the widows of the 1984 riots during our visit to the widows' colony in Delhi. They told us their stories. We met the journalists who covered the riots. Our goal is to show the reality of the riots to everyone. Today's youth should know the truth. We want to give a positive message through it."

"Research related to the film took 16 to 18 months. It was not easy to meet the people who witnessed and survived the 1984 riots. A lot of these people have fled the country. A lot of them have died. We met journalists of that time and gathered all the facts. The script was written in six months. The film's shooting took almost a year".

The film has been tagged by many as being anti-Congress. But Sachdeva thinks otherwise. He explained:

"This film is the story of a night. What happened after the assassination of Indira Gandhi? How a Sikh family in the attacks protects itself, the film tells that story. When we built the film's set in Ludhiana, it was broken in the night. Post that, we asked for police protection and then completed the shooting of the film."

"We met Hindus who saved various Sikhs that night. We even got in touch with those who have shifted to Canada and the US through e-mail..."

31st October has already been screened at various international film festivals like Vancouver International Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival, among others. Sachdeva revealed that the response it had garnered was encouraging.

Anand Prakash, who has co-produced the film, said that the censor board feared that the release of the film might lead to much controversy.

"That's why they asked us to make 40 cuts in the film. After a long deadlock, the film finally got approved with nine cuts. We felt from the beginning that we will not delete those scenes from the movie that will end its impact," Prakash said.

"People somehow have this fear that the film is against Congress. However, it is not. We have showed truth in the film about 1984 riots. I really loved Soha's work in 'Rang De Basanti' and that's the main reason why she is a part of our film. When Soha read the story of the film, she got emotional and quickly said yes," he added.

31st October has been shot extensively in Ludhiana, Delhi and Mumbai.

Though the film's subject is controversial and there is a possibility that after its release it may yet face controversy, Prakash said: "We do not fear controversies. That will continue to happen. Even if we do a good job, then also people would criticise us."

"People want to see movies based on true events. Such films have a class. The movie may be released on 3 or 7 October. Hopefully the release of the film will change people's perception about the 1984 riots," Prakash added.

-- Sourced from Ritu Tomar, IANS

First published: 22 August 2016, 3:40 IST