After penning the cinematic recounting of the sensational 2008 Noida double-murder case in Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar, which had the entire nation riled up, critically-acclaimed filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj is back with another crime story.
The film has been inspired by the brutal murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur, a student of Ryan International School’s Gurugram branch, in the school's toilet. Bhardwaj will be writing as well as directing the film that is being bankrolled by Junglee Pictures..
In an exclusive chat with News18, film’s producer Priti Shahani said, “This has been in the discussion for the last four to five months. During the time of ‘Talvar’ as well we were telling a story in a way that had never been told in cinema. I think it has made an impression on everyone in the film and overall, the documenting and the power of cinema. That story was important to us because it changed the family fabric. The case had shaken the middle-class on the family fabric.”
A Class II student, Pradyuman was found near the toilet of the school with his throat slit on the morning of September 8, 2017, within an hour of his father leaving him at the school.
The case has similarities to the Aarushi and Hemraj murders depicted in Talvar as it was again a case of police botching up the probe. The police had arrested Ashok Kumar, the school bus conductor, and even extracted a confession out of him. However, once the case was handed over to CBI, Kumar was let free and a Class XI student was detained.
“This is a case that Vishal Bharadwaj and I were tracking. Again, it has a huge social impact. It takes on education system, it takes on children, what they aspire to do, perhaps pressures that they feel and again it’s a case that has a long term impact on the social fabric of the country. It raises a question. It’s where you send your children and you believe that your children will be safest over there. That’s the whole equation,” Shahani, who is currently gearing up for her home production, Raazi, told us.
She continued, “Moving from Talvaar, we didn’t want to commercialise it to the extent where we take up every case. We felt that the story needs to be told from the outside. The story has education, school and pressure and then comes in the aspect of crime. I think after much deliberation and discussion we took the decision of making this into a feature film.”
Branding the movie as a commercial output, Shahani said they were yet to take a call on contacting Pradyuman’s parents. “We have not spoken to the parents as yet. Right now there is no plan to talk to the parents. We might take a very fictional route to this story,” she said.
When News18 reached out to Pradyuman’s father, Barun Thakur, he said, “I have not got any official information regarding this. The makers have not reached out to me.”
When asked if he approved of a feature film based on the incident, he said, "I don’t think I can decide it on my own as a lot of people’s sentiments are attached to it. So, I won’t be able to comment unless the makers approach me in person."