Ketan Mehta’s film on Dashrath Manjhi, an outcast landless labourer in Bihar who is famously known as the Mountain Man, will finally see the light of the day. The project starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui was caught up in legal tangles after another filmmaker claimed to have exclusive cinematic rights to Manjhi’s lifestory.
A source says, “Mehta has won the court case and Viacom has taken on the responsibility to release the film, which was shot in 2013. It will hit theatres in August this year.”
Filmmaker Dhananjay Kapoor had applied for a stay on Mehta’s film, claiming that he had taken Manjhi’s consent in July 2007, to make a biopic. That was a month before the latter’s demise. The Patna civil court had admitted his petition in March 2013 and issued an injunction directing Mehta and his filmmaking company not to exhibit the film till the pendency of the suit.
Mehta’s lawyer, however, had said that Manjhi’s descendants had signed a no-objection letter, which meant anyone could make films on him. Mehta says, “It’s an inspiring film and unfortunately, we had to fight it through the high court. We are elated that it’s finally releasing on August 21.”
Manish Jha was also planning a film on Manjhi, but it got shelved. The Mountain Man is named so as he spent 22 years chiseling away at a mountain with rudimentary tools to create a road for his community. His wife’s death prompted him to take on the Herculean task — she died as she couldn’t get medical aid as the nearest hospital was 75 kms away.