Kadvi Hawa
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Sanjai Mishra on Kadvi Hawa!

By HT

If the grey skies and toxic air that ailed parts of north India the last few days didn’t make you think, Kadwi Hawa will. 
 
The film, whose title literally means Bitter Air, focusses sharply on the human cost of climate change. Directed by Nila Madhab Panda, Kadvi Hawa has Sanjai Mishra as an old, blind man who is dealing with drought and Ranveer Singh as a migrant from Odisha who lost his all in floods.
 
The director calls his work “a slap on the face”. Panda says, “Kadvi Hawa is about the world we are living - what we are breathing, eating, drinking and wearing. We are going through a disastrous time. The film talks about the emotional impact of the changing weather in a very simple way. It is about two characters who have come from two different weather conditions. It also gives you moments of laughter and a lot to think about.”
 
The film on climate change comes at a time when the discussion around pollution was at its peak with Delhi and NCR facing unprecedented smog. Panda says it is a coincidence, “There is no game (of release date) here. I have a teenaged child in Delhi who is interested in sports. I have seen how he suffers and how his school schedule often gets disrupted. Hum bus Environmental Day ke din ek do ped laga dete hai aur fir bhool jaate hain (We plant one or two trees on the Environment Day and then forget about it). But I I am glad the film will make people ponder on this problem and realise it is not a small problem. The film is like a slap on your face.”
 
The film has Mishra as a blind and old man who is dealing with the changing environment in his village. How did he prepare for the role? “My biggest fear was that roles of blind or drunken men are stereotyped. Nila suggested a few films to prepare for the role but I did not watch them. And I am glad as I may not have essayed the role the way I did had I watched those. I may have copied them instead,” he says.
 
Elaborating on his role, the actor said, “The location too helped and a lot. We were shooting in 48-49 degrees. Our aim was to relay the heat to the audience. The director also shot the film on super 16 negative to bring out the scorching heat. And people have responded to the trailer saying it leaves them thirsty!”
 
Talking about his preparation for the role, Mishra said, “I am a director’s actor and I surrender to him. He does whatever he wants with me. I don’t even read the script. Nila narrated the script to me once and I simply portrayed the character he showed me.”
 
The actor has worked in both mainstream films and smaller projects that focus on content. Talking about his vast filmography, Mishra says, “Worked in all kinds of films, yes I have. Just like a CA looks at various companies’ files, we do all kinds of cinema. While one kind takes us to a wider audience, the other one takes us to the audience with heart. It is fun to enjoy best of both sides. As I often say, one is T20 and the other is test match but we love the game and that’s all we want to do.”
 
Shory, who will also be seen along with Mishra in Kadvi Hawa, adds, “Mainstream cinema gives us a larger reach, they pay more and we have the luxury of taking time and a number of takes. That way, it is easier to be part of. Content driven cinema, on the other hand, hones our skills and we get to do cutting edge work. We get to work with people who are there for the craft. I think I make more friends because things are tougher.”