Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishan who stood for the Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, has won by a resounding majority. He has defeated the SP-BSP candidate Ram Bhuwal Nishad by over two lakh votes. “This is no small thing. My opponent has a formidable reputation in Uttar Pradesh. Most people thought it was foolhardy of me to even take him on. But I did. I had faith in Lord Shiva and Modiji’s reputation,” says Ravi.
Was this victory a side effect of the Modi wave?
Ravi, who was flying from Gorakhpur to Delhi to meet his mentor Narendra Modi when I caught up with him, thinks it was a bit more. “Of course Modiji has created a wave. People believe in him. And I completely surrendered to that faith they have in Modiji’s leadership. I made no false promises to the people of Gorakhpur. I didn’t need to. Gorakhpur is my home. One doesn’t read a list of things to do to one’s parents and siblings. They just do it.”
Ravi’s big plan for Gorakhpur: “A film city like the Ramuji Rao studios in Hyderabad, a sprawling all-encompassing universe stretching into 300 acres where Bollywood can shoot in comfort and peace and then go back happy. I’ve seen Akshay Kumar and several A-listers shooting on the streets of Uttar Pradesh while the unmanageable crowds jostle to see them, touch them. I want them to shoot in a secluded confined stretch so that UP becomes an appealing shooting location for them. I want my colleagues in Bollywood to know that Gorakhpur is very well connected to Mumbai. There are two daily flights between the cities. And there are luxury hotels in Gorakhpur. So once I build the film city they can shoot here in Gorakhpur in complete comfort.”
All the formalities paper work and blueprint for the film city in UP are complete, and Ravi is all set to plunge into the task of making UP shooting-friendly. Ravi’s other cinema-related plan for Gorakhpur is a large film institute, “I want youngsters from UP, Bihar, Odhisa and Bengal to learn the craft of acting and film direction in Gorakhpur instead of having to go to either Mumbai or the National School of Drama in Delhi. We will have the finest acting teachers to teach our kids from this part of the world. They don’t need to travel all the way to Mumbai or Delhi to learn acting when they can’t afford it. We will bring the art of cinema to Uttar Pradesh in a big way. I also want to revive the art of street theatre and village stage plays in Uttar Pradesh.”
All of Ravi Kishan’s plans seen cinema-centred. “They are. That’s because I am from the world of cinema. Jeena yahan marna yahan.”