Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha, whose “Anek” is about to release shortly, has teamed up with filmmaker Ketan Mehta to produce “Freedom Radio”, a biopic based on the life of freedom fighter Usha Mehta.
Usha is remembered for organising the “Secret Congress Radio”, an underground radio station, during the Quit India Movement of 1942. She was later conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the nation’s second highest civilian award.
About the film, Karan Mehta, who has earlier made films like “Sardar”, “Mangal Pandey – the Rising”, and “Manjhi- The Mountain Man”, said: “It’s a film about the spirit of freedom. Set in the pre-independence era, the film’s narrative captures a forgotten but crucial chapter in the Indian freedom struggle, the ‘Quit India movement’.”
“In 1942 when Mahatma Gandhi announced the Quit India movement, the final battle of the Indian freedom struggle, the British government arrested all the top (Congress) leadership including Gandhi, (Sardar Vallabhbhai) Patel, (Maulana Abul Kalam) Azad, and (Jawaharlal) Nehru in a midnight swoop. The movement was rendered leaderless. All news was blocked and censored, all protests were banned. That is when the youth of India came forward to take charge and lead the freedom movement forward,” Karan Mehta added.
Shedding light on Usha Mehta’s contribution to the movement, Karan Mehta said: “Usha Mehta, a 22-year-old student, galvanised a team of fellow students to counter the British. They established a secret, underground radio station. At great personal risk and under constant threat they continued to provide the true news of the freedom struggle to the people of India and kept the spirit of freedom going.”
To be able to tell a story of this nature, Mehta needed sturdy collaborators to see his movie come on to the big screens. The scale, and the authenticity are important facets of the film. He said: “Developing this story has been pure joy. Sifting through her personal diaries, and delving into my own memories have been a crucial part of work. I couldn’t have found a more supportive producer and collaborator than Anubhav who understands the vision of his filmmaker.”
Sinha, whose production house Benaras Mediaworks is backing the project, said: “It’s been a sheer joy working with Ketan on this project. I was taken in by Usha Mehta’s courage and grit. It’s the kind of patriotism that we need to revisit in today’s day and age.”
The release date of the film will be announced soon.