Having found a place in many film festivals across the globe since its release in October 2017, debutant director Dipesh Jain's Gali Guleiyan attracted several accolades from cinephiles.
But, few are aware about the daunting past of child-actor Om Singh, whose story is reminiscent of that he plays on screen, of a victim of physical abuse.
Talking about the casting for Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Gali Guleiyan, which chronicles a man's obsession to rescue a child from abuse, Jain says he auditioned 2,500 boys before zeroing in on Singh. His search ended at the Salaam Baalak Trust in Delhi, where he found the boy who turned up there after running away from home owing to physical abuse.
"I was shocked to learn that Om had been a victim of child violence. I had found a real-life Idris [the character Singh plays in the film]," Jain says.
Having commenced working with the child, Jain even incorporated incidents from his life into the script. "He told me that after many abusive nights, he ran away from his home and ended up at the old Delhi railway station. Not knowing what to do, he would sit at a spot and watch people pass by. So, we decided to shoot [that event] at the same spot and on the same platform."
For the child, there were also moments that helped him understand love, when filming for the venture.
"Until we began shooting, the only thing that Om knew about human touch was one that dealt with abuse. In a particular scene, it was needed that he run and hug his mother [Shahana Goswami]. But Om would always freeze. Later, I realised what was worrying him. So, we altered the scene to show Shahana kissing him on his cheek instead. He started blushing, but realised that there is more to a touch than one that leads to a slap." The venture also stars Ranvir Shorey.