Around this time last year began the ordeal of many migrant workers, who shun city jobs to return home, battling hunger, fighting coronavirus and facing many other challenges. They embarked on a difficult journey to their villages by foot or on their cycles as trains, buses and all other modes of public transport were shut down. During this crisis, National Award-winning director Vinod Kapri helped them with food items and other essentials. This tryst has now translated into a documentary film titled 1232KMS, which is due to release on March 24 on Disney+Hotsar VIP.
In it, he has captured the journey of seven such migrants who defied all odds to reach their village in Saharsa, Bihar, 1232-km away from Delhi. “I was so curious to know the journey of these labourers, who were going to their villages without any vehicle. How much pain they had to bear; they didn’t know when they would get food or if they would be able to sleep. They didn’t even know how they were going to reach their village, but they just went on. As we were seeing all this on TV or reading about it in newspapers, I decided to go with them,” says Vinod.
In his own special way, legendary lyricist Gulzar joined Vinod to touch the lives of these migrants. He wielded his pen to create two soulful tracks — Marenge Toh Wahin Jaakar and O Re Bidesiya — that encapsulate their emotions. “Like Vinod said, we all were watching the journey of these people on TV and newspapers. Vinod was physically with them but even though I was locked in my house, I was emotionally with them and so I wrote down what I felt. When I shared it with Vishal, he told me about Vinod’s documentary and then he decided to compose the verses. Thanks to Vishal for picking the song because it wasn’t easy,” says Gulzar.
Adds director Vishal Bharadwaj, “Vinod had contacted me for a background score and after watching the movie, I thought we should lyrically and musically support the cause. It’s a noble cause and I had a word with Gulzar saab. So during the lockdown, we remotely did the songs. Gulzar saab was in Mumbai, I was in Mussoorie, Vinod was in Delhi…”