FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY BIJOY GURUNG
Gangtok, April 28: Gorkhaland is a must for Indian Gorkhas, Prashant Tamang said, although he thinks that the renewed statehood movement in the Darjeeling hills should not be credited to him.
At a time when his co-finalist and close friend Meiyang Chang is ready to hit the silver screen with the Sahid Kapoor starrer Badmaash Company next month, the Indian Idol 3 winner is about to complete his second Nepali feature film, though of a much lesser budget and reach.
But as Tamang, a Calcutta Police constable, puts it, he is taking life step by step.
“I am taking life step by step and everything will happen in a gradual manner. Opportunities and good results will come with patience and hard work,” Tamang told The Telegraph during a shoot at MG Marg here a few days back.
Today Tamang was in Majitar, 36km from Gangtok and one of the many locales in Sikkim where Angalo Yo Maya Ko, the Nepali feature film, is being shot. Almost 90 per cent shooting has been completed, said Kathmandu-based director Vinod Sereng.
The film has a budget of around Rs 30-35 lakh, said the director. Tamang is playing the lead role besides singing a couple of tracks in the film including the title song. His character is a spoilt brat who later turns into a new leaf.
“This is my second film, and my first, Gorkha Paltan, is scheduled to be released in Kathmandu in April-May,” said Tamang, who is keen on Bollywood. “It is not easy but I will not stop dreaming, and will continue trying to get into Bollywood,” he said.
Asked about his experience after Indian Idol 3, Tamang said he had kept himself busy with film projects and shows. “I was mostly engaged in shootings and there are two-three more projects (in the anvil) but I have not finalised them yet,” he said.
“The most important thing for me is to continue getting the same love that I had received from the people earlier,” said Tamang, who visits Darjeeling frequently, but does not hold many shows there. “However, I have a show in Mirik.”
The Idol-turned-film hero does not shy away from talking about Gorkhaland. He, however, said the statehood movement should not be credited to him.
“There was great unity among the hill people during my Indian Idol challenge and such unity should be maintained to take the movement ahead,” he said. “Gorkhaland is must for the identity of the Indian Gorkhas…Everyone knows about the Indian Gorkhas, the only thing needed is to strengthen our identity.”
In 2007, the Morcha was born after its president Bimal Gurung cashed in on the strong anti-Subash Ghisingh sentiment that swept through the Darjeeling hills during the campaign launched to help Tamang win Indian Idol 3. The GNLF chief had refused to publicly back Tamang even as the entire Gorkha community in Bengal and across the country put its collective might behind the singer from Darjeeling.
Since then, political equations have changed. In 2007, Gurung and his supporters had shouted pro-Pawan Chamling slogans much to Ghisingh’s chagrin. Three years later, the Morcha supporters are no longer eulogising the Sikkim chief minister, but accusing him of doing little to help the outfit attain Gorkhaland.
But does Tamang, still consider Sikkim his second home? “No. Rather, both Sikkim and Darjeeling are my only homes,” Tamang said.
Director Sereng complimented Tamang’s acting skills. “We hope to wrap up the shooting by the second week of May,” said Sereng.
The director said the film was shot in various parts of Sikkim like Aritar, Namchi and Rabongla, besides Gangtok, Majitar. He said it would be released in September with the premiere in Gangtok. Most of the cast in the film are from Sikkim and Darjeeling.