By Jyothi Venkatesh
Actor Yashpal Sharma, who turned director with the Haryanvi film Dada Lakhmi, is elated that his hard work over five years has paid off as his film won the National Award for the best Haryanvi film. The Gangajal actor, who recently wrapped his shoot of the film Control in Lucknow, says, “The intention was to make a commercial film which can also work in the film festival circuit. So far, it has won 60 awards across the world. Last year, it was also screened online at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, the National Award is icing on the cake.”
Sharma adds, “My first Haryanvi film Pagdi: The Honour followed by Satrangi both have won National Awards. In that period, there were Jaat reservation riots going on which upset me. Yahan koi film ka mahaul hi nahi hai aur sab jaat-paat main fansey hue hai! I decided to work in that direction knowing that I will have to sacrifice work for many years, will suffer huge money loss but now feel it was worth it.”
His last few releases were Your Honor, A Simple Murder, PariWar, and Bunty Aur Babli 2. “I have done leading roles in M for Mafia and College Kaand while the film The Great Indian Family with Vicky Kaushal will be a mega release. Besides, there are two very interesting projects where I am doing the main role — Chipkali and Mooso,” he adds.
Sharma has earlier done many projects in Lucknow including Monica, Chinese Bhasad, and the Family of Thakurganj. Yashpal Sharma is a well-known actor who has proved his mettle in Hindi films like Lagaan, Gangaajal, Apahan, and Singh is King. Yashpal Sharma made his directorial debut with the Haryanvi film ‘Dada Lakhmi’ which has been given the award for Best Haryanvi Film. Yashpal Sharma is very happy and thrilled after receiving this award. Says Yashpal Sharma, ‘This is the sweet fruit of my five years of hard work. For the first three years, he kept doing research for this film.
For this film, he let go of multiple projects. “I have refused at least 20 films in the period of five years. But, ghar chalana hai to beech-beech main thoda kaam bhi kiya! A lot of people discouraged me and many made a joke of it but I did not give up. I remained focused on the film and kept on working towards it and the result is here. I have co-produced the film with Ravindra Rajawat.”
Is he looking for a pan-India release? “Bahut paisa kharch ho gaya hai so we will be looking forward to releasing it in Haryana and nearby states. Though it’s in Haryanvi, those who know Hindi can easily understand, as it is in very simple language, just as people related with Lagaan (Awadhi).” Yashpal Sharma adds, ‘I dedicate this film and award to my mother Vidya Devi, elder brother Ghanshyam Das and wife Pratibha. They have always stood by me and supported me in every struggle. This film will be released on the occasion of Haryana Day. I have tried to repay the debt of Haryana’s soil by making this film. Dada Lakhmi is our hero, the flag bearer of culture.
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Elder brother Ghanshyam Das says that Yashpal Sharma had a lot of passion for theatre and used to stage Ramlila by gathering the children of Canal Colony of Hisar. When he saw Yashpal, a pass out Rajiv Manchanda from NSD of Hisar, gave him some tips. Yashpal Sharma studied at both DN College and Government College in Hisar and received the Best Actor Award for acting in the play ‘Bechara Bhagwan’ at the Youth Festival. Only after that, did he start thinking seriously about becoming an actor. He spent a year in the Indian Theater of Punjab University and after getting selected by NSD, he went to Delhi.
Ghanshyam Das adds, “We are four brothers and two sisters in the family. My dad Premchand Sharma had a small job and a small quarter. We eight beings happily remained with each other’s support in this. As far as expenses were concerned, Yashpal and I used to make very beautiful mangalsutras and other things. We both drove rickshaws sometimes for money. Yashpal used to bear the expenses of Delhi’s NSD. Sometimes I would go to meet Delhi; I would have given some support according to my status. Then he got involved in the repertory and then the expenses also started coming. In NSD itself, Pratibha Suman was introduced and then married. Pratibha is also giving a lot of support.
Yashpal started the struggle in Vanrai Colony by paying four thousand rupees in advance for two months and traveling by the local train. Yashpal got the first commercial film ‘Arjun Pandit’ with Sunny Deol. In this, Yashpal was in the role of Sunny’s friend. The first film from which Yashpal got recognition was Aamir Khan’s ‘Lagaan’ which made him famous in the role of Lakha. Then he didn’t look back.
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Gangajal, A kidnapping, Singh is King, Rowdy Rathod and many more films with him in all kinds of role-comedy and villain roles, followed. Then the passion happened to make a Haryanvi film and Yashpal said that now I will make a Haryanvi film and if I get any role with Amitabh Bachchan, then I will even produce this film. That is, full dedication is ready to give every sacrifice for Dada Lakhmi. After all, its hard work showed color and while giving a good film to Haryanvi cinema, it also brought glory.
The elder brother said that since childhood, Yashpal did not want to give trouble to anyone in the house. He would secretly climb the wall in the middle of the night, return from his rehearsals and eat the covered food kept in the kitchen and sleep silently. After a very hard struggle, today our family has found this happiness. The biggest quality is the ability to take everyone along from the beginning.
Artists from all over Haryana have been connected through film festivals and litterateurs through creation festivals. He continued to win prizes for his interest in literature and also in poetry readings. The younger brother Rajesh told that when he was young, his mother would definitely scold him to do some work, what is there in this Ramlila, but after walking from Ramlila, the brothers reached Mumbai and today have made the entire Haryana proud. Yashpal has dedicated his banner and film to our mother only.