Aamir disappoints Mountain Man’s villagers? Star India’s CEO reacts

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By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, March 5 (IANS)
Actor Aamir Khan has left people at Bihar’s Gehlaur village upset as they were under impression that the second season of his show “Satyamev Jayate” would begin with an episode on ‘Mountain Man’ Dashrath Manjhi. However, Star India’s CEO Uday Shankar says there was never any such plan.

Aamir’s show on social reform started on a high note, but an uproar of protest has broken out in Gehlaur village where once lived Dashrath Manjhi, who hand-chiseled a road through a rocky hill to connect his inacessible village to the nearest town.

Manjhi’s family and the villagers claim they had a different impression about the show, following Aamir’s recent visit to the village.

“Aamir Khan visited us on Feb 25 and told us that the first episode of his serial was dedicated to Dashrath Manjhi. We were all glued to the television in the community hall in our village at 10 a.m.,” said a villager.

“We were sorely disappointed when the episode aired was about something else. Why did he visit us with the promise that the episode would be about our village hero?” he said.

When confronted with the villagers’ protests, Uday Shankar, CEO Of Star India, said: “There was never any plan of an episode on Dashrath Manjhi this season. We ended season one of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ with an episode on Manjhi. And before we commenced the new season, we felt it would be a good idea to pay a tribute to his memory and the triumph of the human spirit that he signifies. Hence, Aamir’s trip to Gelhaur.”

Meanwhile, Manjhi’s fellow villagers have more reason to feel disappointed. The film on Manjhi’s life “The Mountain Man”, directed by Ketan Mehta, lies unsold and unreleased many months after completion with no indication or hope of a release in the near future.

Mehta had wangled the privilege of shooting a film on Manjhi’s inspirational tale from two other filmmakers, Neerraj Pathak and Manish Jha after fighting arduous legal battles with Pathak and Manjhi’s family members.

With much fanfare, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was signed to play Manjhi. The actor spent months in Manjhi’s native village in Gaya living out Manjhi’s heroic endeavour.

When asked about the status of “The Mountain Man”, Nawazuddin said: “I am not sure about what is happening with the film. We’ve completed the shooting. You will have to have ask Ketan Mehta when the film is releasing.”

While Ketan Mehta refused to respond to the release query, he lauded Aamir for visiting Manjhi’s family.

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