Junaid Khan shares what intrigued him about role of Karsandas Mulji in ‘Maharaj’

Hyderabad Desk

Mumbai: Junaid Khan, who is garnering appreciation for his performance in his recently released debut film ‘Maharaj’ from the audience and critics, shared what intrigued him about the character Karsandas Mulji.

‘Maharaj’ delves into the 1862 Maharaj Libel Case, one of India’s most significant legal battles, and highlights the life of social reformer Karsandas Mulji.

During a conversation with ANI, Junaid opened up about how he was inspired by the story of Karsandas Mulji, “He was a real person who in 1862 was talking about those things which even today are happening. It happens in society today. And it happens in every society. And at that time he was fighting about it. When we didn’t have that much knowledge. So I found the character and the story very inspirational. That there is a man who had so much understanding back then.”

Speaking about what attracted him to the script, the ‘Maharaj’ actor shared, “I used to perform in dramas since 2017 and have been called for movie auditions as well. Siddharth sir and Aditya (Chopra) sir called me after seeing an audition of mine. When I listened to the story, I really liked it. Then I said yes to the script.”

Talking about his emotional rollercoaster journey of film release, director Siddharth P Malhotra said, “I was influenced by his character when I saw his play. It was released 4-5 years ago. It was a Gujarati drama. His play is Vipul Mehta who is the director of the play and the co-writer of this film. When I saw the play, I said that it is a story of a journalist. He used to live in Baikala. He was a social worker. He used to stand up for the things that were right. Things that were considered wrong at that time but are right today. So I said, this is the story of an unsung hero that should be told. This is the whole journey of a hero. And he is fighting for women’s rights, for everything. So a script was made, it was approved, Junaid was narrated, Jaideep sir and all the other actors came. The film was also made. But the period of release was very painful.”

He added, “For waiting and then what happened Because they say, never judge a book by its cover. So we got a cover, a poster. And the judgement was done. So that was a big pain. I cried a lot. I literally cried. My father Prem Kishen, my mother, everyone came home and supported me. But now I am when the film was released, for which we had made the film with a pure intention for that it is being judged and it is being seen that there is nothing anti in it, it is pro-religion it is pro-humanity. I am happy that Junaid is getting a lot of praise, Jaideep sir is getting a lot of praise, writing is getting lauded, dialogues are being quoted, my work is also being appreciated.”

The film, directed by Sidharth P Malhotra and produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF) Entertainment, also features Jaideep Ahlawat and Shalini Pandey, with a special appearance by Sharvari.

The release of ‘Maharaj’ faced a brief hurdle when the Gujarat High Court imposed a temporary stay on its release.

However, this stay was lifted, prompting YRF to express its gratitude through an official statement. “We are grateful to the judiciary for allowing the release of ‘Maharaj,’ a film that celebrates one of the most important social reformers of our country, Karsandas Mulji,” read the statement.

“Yash Raj Films has a 50-year-old legacy of championing India, its stories, its people, culture & heritage. We have never produced a film that tarnished the reputation of our country or our countrymen.”

‘Maharaj,’ is streaming on Netflix.

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