Reel story of radio lore town

After years in obscurity, Jhumri Telaiya is back in the news for an eponymous film made by a group of the town's youngsters that enjoyed its Friday release in Ranchi.

The film, made under the banner of Friends--Bros, was released at Mini Sujata hall at noon. Most among the cast and crew of the 115-minute film ' all in their early 20s ' are from Jhumri Telaiya. The rest are from within Jharkhand and the film was shot in Ranchi, Patratu, Dhanbad and Telaiya dam.

The story, directed and produced by fresh graduate Abhishek Dwivedi, is a feel-good one where love, friendship and martial arts fight it out against big bad guys ' land sharks.

Viewers are invited to find out if karate and taekwondo win.

Beyond the merits of the film, it is a prod on present-day Jhumri Telaiya and its concerns. Angst-ridden youngsters, few job opportunities, booming land grabs and so on. Martial arts becomes a metaphor for setting things right.

It's a far cry from the idyll that once was. Few small towns enjoyed the iconic popularity of Jhumri Telaiya.

This Koderma town shot into fame on two counts from 1950s onwards ' the largest number of film song requests to All India Radio's Vividh Bharti programme and conspicuous consumption of 'mica kings' in pre-liberalised India.

Mercedes and Porsche cars used to zip along the mica mining town's roads. And in their free time, residents almost monopolised Vividh Bharti phone lines. Unused to hearing an unfamiliar name everyday on the airwaves ' Google wasn't there to inform ' many big city radio buffs thought Jhumri Telaiya to be a Vividh Bharti invention.

"We made the film to make our town come back into the limelight. There will be a daily evening show for a week. We will extend it if we find encouraging response," said Abhishek, whose brother Rahul and almost his entire family, have acted in the film.

Many of the actors ' Rajendra, Mukesh, Vikash and Baby Barnwal ' are martial arts gold medallists in national championships.

"Their guts and passion during practice sessions at clubs inspired me to record actions and edit them. Then, I wrote a story to incorporate the action," the director said of the low-budget film, the promos of which have got good response on YouTube.

Viewers also had good things to say. "It had very realistic martial arts action, even by girls," Anil Sikdar, actor-director of local films, who watched this, said.