By ANJALI NAURIYAL
Narendra Jha Foundation awards seven real life unsung heroes working to uplift and enrich lives of people in rural areas of Bihar.
Narendra Jha was at the peak of his career in Hindi film industry when his life was cut short. His was a brilliant television and film career that came to an abrupt end on 14 March 2018, when he breathed his last at his Wada farm house in the presence of his wife Pankaja.
Jha’s journey from village Koilakh, district Madhubani in Bihar to Bollywood encapsulates narratives that dreams are made of.
He had lovingly built his farm house, where he loved to spend peaceful time with his pet dogs. Certainly, he deserved to live a long and fulfilling life. But, when destiny strikes no one has the answers.
He was a brilliant actor who had proved his talent in top of the line films such as Haider, Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Ghayal Once Again, Mohenjodaro, Raees, Kaabil, Race 3 and so on. He was last seen in an award wining film called Viraam, that was shot in Dehradun. Yet, we all knew that his peak was yet to be. His zenith as an actor was out there in the future for him to grab. But all that has been wiped out by the cruel hands of fate and Indian cinema is poorer for that.
To keep alive the memory of this brilliant son of the soil his wife Pankaja Thakur set up the Narendra Jha Foundation (NJF). The foundation along with the district administration of Madhubani unveiled a wall portrait in memory of Jha, brilliant son of Mithila and pride of Bihar. Famous star Ravi Kishan unveiled the portrait in the presence of Jha’s wife Pankaja and family members Yog Narayan Jha, Shesh Narayan Jha , Sagar Jha and others. Actor Shilpa Shukla of Chak De fame and Kranti Prakash Jha of MS Dhoni’s game were there to unveil the wall portrait and to give away the awards to the seven meticulously chosen social workers of Bihar.
Ravi Kishan addressed the gathering and said that Mithila is the land of naturally born kalakars. He said that the art of Mithila is famous worldwide and countless kalakars have emerged from this artistically fertile land. Narendra Jha’s work has been a shining example for others to emulate. He congratulated NJF Trustee Pankaja for organising an event of this magnitude to keep alive the memory of her husband, a rare gem from Mithila. Present on the occasion were his wife Pankaja Thakur, Custom Commissioner Ranjit Kumar, DM Madhubani Dr Nilesh Ramchandra Deore, besides many family members of NJ. The wall mural of Narendra Jha was also inaugurated at the Town Hall on the occasion which was created by Ranjit Dahiya of Bollywood Art Project fame who also made the famous Amitabh Bachhan mural in Mumbai. It was curated by Abhishek Kumar Singh.
The awardees who were felicitated on the occasion were from various parts of Bihar. They included the following: Prof. MZ Hassan (Rural Education), Chinmaya Nand Singh (Rural Development), Soni Raj (Women Empowerment), Girindra Nath Jha (Rural Development), Suman Singh (Rural Women Empowerment), Shambhu Sharan Bhartiya (Environment) and Shashank Kumar & DeHaat Team (Farmers’ Empowerment).