‘Sameer’ is based on real incidents. Did you have to do some research before stepping in to the film?
The film is inspired by, and not based on real incidents. I play the role of Desai, an ATS chief. I was shooting for a film called ‘III Smoking Barrels’ when I was approached for the film. One of my co-actor’s husband was a RAW agent. I had a few discussions with her regarding how the officers worked and the way these organisations operated. Later, I saw some videos on YouTube and went through some reading material to understand the mechanisms of an anti-crime unit. But, the most important part was to understand the kind of dilemma and problems an ATS officer would go through while dealing with different kind of cases. More than understanding the nitty-gritties of the work environment, it was important to explore the humane side of the character.
The equation that Desai, the character you play, has with Sameer, played by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, seems quite interesting. Can you share something about it?
A state has two pillars, one which represents it. In the film, that pillar is officer Desai, which I am playing. The other pillar is a journalist, played by Anjali Patil, who helps in communicating information to society. In between all this, a common man called Sameer gets trapped in certain unavoidable situations which he finds difficult getting out of. After that, begins a cat-and-mouse game between Sameer and Desai. There is a lot of suspense in the film. The audience will come across many twists and turns throughout the narrative which will keep them at the edge of their seats.
The film revisits a dark chapter in Gujarat, India. Given the current political climate, do you anticipate any trouble with the film?
When Pahlaj Nihalani was a part of CBFC, we faced quite a bit of trouble. But now, after four hearings, the film has been passed by the Tribunal Court. Every political party, no matter what its ideology is, will do certain things which will not go down well with some people. It is important for the government and the general public to engage in some sort of a dialogue, so that there is a balance between the government’s actions and the common man’s needs. The film seeks to unearth what gives rise to the idea of terrorism. Terrorism has not originated from another planet. A few people amongst us go pick up arms and go against the state. I genuinely believe that ‘Sameer’ is a very positive film as it tries to make people realize why we need to understand the reason behind it and try to make sure that people in our society do not get into these kind of activities. We shot the film in Gujarat and I was amazed to see the spirit of the people residing there. People would be eating golgappas at 2am without any fear. This is such a rare sight in India. Despite the disturbance that has occurred in Gujarat, it is heartening to see that people are so positive and living without any fear. This should serve as an example for people residing in the other states in the country.