Amitabh Bachchan meets social worker Vijay Barse for character insights

One of the most anticipated movies of the year, sees bring the story of — the founder of Slum Soccer, a Nagpur-based organisation dedicated towards the upliftment of underprivileged children through football — on celluloid. Before the Nagraj Manjule-directed film went on floors in December, the megastar met Barse as part of his prep for the character.

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Sharing details of their first meeting, co-producer tells mid-day, “Nagraj invited Barse and his family on the film’s set on the first day of the shoot. He thought an interaction between Barse and Bachchan saab would help the megastar gain insights into his character. He was awestruck when he realised that Bachchan Saab had read up on him and his efforts to give the underprivileged children a better life. The superstar also told him that he agreed to do the film because he was proud of his endeavour and wanted the message to reach across the nation.”

The co-producer adds that as soon as the megastar gave his nod to the social drama, Manjule had sent him articles and videos featuring Barse, to initiate him into the process. “After their meeting in December, Barse dropped in on the Nagpur set a few times. During their interactions that would last for half an hour or so, Bachchan saab would observe him carefully and you could see him bring those nuances in front of the camera.”

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Glad that his story is finding a cinematic adaptation, Barse was deeply involved in the making of Jhund. “We sat down with him to understand his organisation’s functioning. He also shared vital inputs when Nagraj was developing the screenplay. In fact, we have used real slum kids in the movie — while Barse turned them into proficient football players, Nagraj turned them into actors.”