63 Days in Arthur Road Jail | Interview
Raj Kundra recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Metro Vartha, shedding light on his experiences during his 63-day stint in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail. This interview coincides with the release of his upcoming film, "UT 69," which delves into the dark world of prisons, where Raj Kundra plays the central character.
Life Behind Bars
Raj Kundra describes his time in Arthur Road Jail as the most challenging period of his life. The film "UT 69" vividly portrays the harsh conditions and hardships he endured. He recalls overcrowded cells with inadequate food, emphasizing the dire need for prison reform. Raj Kundra passionately states, "The living conditions for stray dogs are better than those in prisons."
Shilpa Shetty's Support
Initially, Shilpa Shetty was skeptical about turning Raj Kundra's prison experiences into a film. However, after understanding the hardships he faced, she wholeheartedly supported the project. She insisted on maintaining the film's quality, which was non-negotiable. Raj Kundra credits Shilpa for her unwavering support, which played a pivotal role in his emotional recovery during the challenging arrest period.
The New Hero and the Film's Message
"UT 69" marks Raj Kundra's debut as an actor, presenting a significant challenge for him. Director Shahnawaz Ali praises Raj's dedication in taking up this challenge.
Raj Kundra aspires to use the film as a platform to advocate for prison reform. He hopes that the movie will inspire change within the prison system. Even if it sparks a small change, he views it as a substantial achievement.
The film's script is written by Vikram Bhatia and director Shahnawaz Ali, with Raj Kundra producing the film.
The Legal Case and Arrest
In 2021, Raj Kundra faced arrest in connection with an explicit film production and distribution case. He spent 63 days behind bars, an experience that forms the foundation of the movie's plot. Despite initial rumors of marital troubles, Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra continue to lead a happy life together.
Raj Kundra tied the knot with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on November 22, 2009, and they have two children.
Humble Beginnings and Self-Made Success
Raj Kundra's journey began in a modest family that had migrated from Punjab to London. His parents, Balakrishan Kundra and Usha Rani Kundra, worked hard to support the family. Raj grew up in London, where he took on various jobs to help his father's restaurant and even worked as a part-time taxi driver. One chance encounter in a taxi ride ignited his foray into business. Over time, he entered the film distribution industry, facilitated by his familiarity with Hindi films, thanks to his parents.
The Key to Success
With the retirement of his parents, Raj Kundra took full responsibility for his family. His journey to success was characterized by relentless hard work, devoid of any godfather's support or blessings. He firmly believes that his parents' blessings were his sole source of strength. He emphasizes, "Hard work is the only reason I reached this level."
Raj Kundra's path led him to selling pashmina shawls to fashion retailers in Britain, a venture that turned into a significant success. He later founded Essential General Trading LLC in Dubai, dealing with metals, construction, mining, and renewable energy projects. He also ventured into financing and producing Bollywood films. Notably, he took charge of distributing Mani Ratnam's "Yuva."
The film "UT 69" is set to hit theaters on November 3, offering a glimpse into the harsh realities of prison life. It aims to shed light on the dire conditions faced by many prisoners, worse off than street animals.