Is Abhishek Bachchan’s Dasvi inspired by life of ex-Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala who gave Class 10 exams in jail? Director says ‘no’

On the face of it, the premise of Dasvi, the new film starring Abhishek Bachchan, might remind of the real-life story of ex-Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala sitting for his 10th boards while in Tihar jail. But the filmmakers have said that their film has nothing to do with Chautala, despite the similarities.

Director Tushar Jalota in a recent interview said that he was pitched the idea by one of the film’s writers (and producers) Sandeep Leyzell. He told GoodTimes in Hindi, “He gave me a one-line pitch, about an older man who sits for his Class 10 exams. I felt instantly connected to the story, because a lot of my family, from my mother’s side, happen to be teachers and professors. My sister is a principal. There was an instant connect. Even my mother used to be a professor back in the day…”

That is when they ‘started building the characters’, Tushar said. “Honestly, there was just a one line. Then, we started developing the world. We wanted to make it even more difficult. You take this man and put him in a really difficult situation. That’s how we fleshed out the characters. Honestly, there were no references. There was no research done, in terms of basing the character on a real person. Nothing of the sort, I swear to God, none of those things were even considered. This has just come up, this was not even discussed while we were filming.”

But the similarities can’t be ignored. Abhishek’s character in the film also happens to be a chief minister, although he belongs to the fictional state of Harit Pradesh. And just like Chautala, who was convicted for his involvement in what was known as the JBT scam (the junior basic teacher scam), Abhishek’s character was also sentenced for his involvement in a teacher recruitment scam.

Chautala appeared for Class X exam at the centre set up for prisoners at Tihar Jail in 2017, and scored 53.4%. He appeared for social sciences, science and technology, Hindi, Indian culture and heritage and business studies exams in Hindi. In total, he secured 267 marks out of the total 500. He was 82 at the time.

Four years later, he attempted the Class XII boards, appearing at a centre in the Arya Kanya Senior Secondary School in Sirsa. But he was made to take the English exam for Class X again, as he hadn’t cleared it the first time. He was 86 at the time. Chautala served his sentence from 2013 to July 2, 2021. Dasvi began filming in February 2021, according to a post shared by Abhishek.

The film, which also features Nimrat Kaur and Yami Gautam in supporting roles, will be released on Netflix and JioCinema on April 7. The film was premiered at the Agra Jail, where it was also partially shot.

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