The trailer for Ketan Mehta's upcoming film, Manjhi - The Mountain Man, was released online on Monday.
The film tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi, a poor labourer from Gehlaur village in Bihar, who made headlines for single-handedly carving a path through a mountain using only a hammer and chisel.
His tenacity and resilience was the result of what happened to his wife Falguni Devi in 1959, when she ended up injuring herself on a loose rock. Manjhi sold his goats, bought a hammer and chisel, and started hacking away at the mountain. An article on The Alternative quotes him as saying the following:
"Years later, he would recount, “That mountain had shattered so many pots, claimed lives. I could not bear that it hurt my wife. If it took all my life now, I would carve us a road through the mountain.”
The couple battled extreme poverty has he started trying to break down the 300-foot-high mountain. Not long after, Falguni Devi fell ill. With the closest doctor being in Wazirganj, on the other side of the mountain, she was unable to make the journey and passed away. Despite opposition and ridicule and spurred on by her demise, he worked tirelessly for 22 years and reduced the distance between Atri (where Gehlaur is) and Wazirganj from 80 km to 13 km. Eventually feted by the media and recognised nation-wide for his effort, Manjhi lived to be 73 years old and passed away in August 2007 of gall bladder cancer. He was given a state funeral by the government of Bihar.
A documentary on his life by Robina M Gupta, available on YouTube
This inspirational real-life hero has been brought to life by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays him in Mehta's upcoming film. Devi's role is essayed by Radhika Apte. Siddiqui ages convincingly in the trailer as he depicts Manjhi at various stages of his life right till his old age.
Manjhi - The Mountain Man releases in theatres on August 21. Watch the trailer above.