Prakash Jha

National award-winner Prakash Jha is an eminent producer, actor, director and screenwriter. Prakash Jha is known for his political and socio-political films such as 'Damul', 'Mrityudand', 'Gangaajal', 'Apaharan' including multi-starred movies like 'Raajneeti','Aarakshan', and 'Satyagraha'.

His last film Pareeksha – The Final Test on Zee 5 was appreciated and lauded by the fans and critics. And now the ace filmmaker is all set to foray into the digital space with his Aashram that takes an in-depth and incisive look at blind faith and how some self-styled exploitative godmen take advantage of it.

In an exclusive freewheeling conversation with IBTimes, Prakash Jha spoke about his upcoming web show Aashram, his religious thoughts and belief and was Bobby Deol the only choice for the role of Baba Nirala.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Prakash Jha

About his digital debut Aashram

It's a beautifully made web show, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a director. In a nutshell, Aashram takes an in-depth and incisive look at blind faith and how some self-styled and exploitative godmen take advantage of common people's faith and trust.

 A significant difference between directing a web series and a film

There is a vast difference between directing a film and a web show, unlike films, web series doesn't demand a short cut. Web shows can be in-depth and every angle can be explored. It's more detailed and more the cast the merrier it is. Its layered and certain cinematic liberties can be taken. Moreover, the OTT platform MX players came to me with the concept and then a team of writers were set up and we weaved the story in all possible angles.  Part of the series is it revolved around the whole racket of fake baba's how these so-called baba's play with common man's emotions for money and play with innocent people's lives. However, the other angle is who makes these baba's the common man right! Aashram dwells deep into the whole saga of how these fake baba's control the minds of common people. The godman doesn't follow any religion all they do is con common people. I like the complexities that the storyline and each character has. That's why I choose to work on it.

Prakash Jha
Prakash Jha

Do you believe in Saints or baba?

 I don't follow any baba's. However, I follow and believe religious saint and speakers, the ones who are knowledgeable and talk about Hindu dharam and shakti. I seek blessing from those saints who are learned and literate and talk about religion without making it a hoax. The story of Aashram showcases the manipulative and opportunist small times baba who hoax people and con or play with the trust and emotions of common people.

Are you religious?

I am religious as well as spiritual. I wholeheartedly believe in learned gurus like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda and, Yogi Adityanath and other gurus.

Prakash Jha and Bobby Deol

Was Bobby Deol the first choice of the series?

Every actor loves to potray differnt kinds of roles and Bobby Deol was the first choice. I called him and he agreed to it. I didn't have to convince him. And now I can proudly say that he as an apt choice, he can be trusted to the core. 

For the unversed, Prakash's digital debut series, Aashram, will premiere on August 28 on MX Player. The trailer of the series was unveiled earlier this month and shows Bobby Deol as Baba Nirala of Kashipur. The series also features Chandan Roy Sanyal, Aaditi Pohankar, Darshan Kumaar, and Adhyayan Suman in pivotal roles.

Watch the trailer of Aashram below: