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Why IAS Shalini and Rajneesh Deserve a Film Based on Their Incredible Work

The film is inspired by the couple’s book ‘IAS Dampathiya Kanasugalu’ (Dreams of an IAS couple).

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Shalini IAS, a Kannada film based on the real-life IAS couple— IAS Shalini Rajneesh and IAS Rajneesh Goel, is in-the-making under national award-winning director Nikhil Manju.

The filmmaker was inspired to get onto this project after reading the Kannada book ‘IAS Dampathiya Kanasugalu’ (Dreams of an IAS couple) which documents the couple’s real-life story. Both Rajneesh and Shalini are Karnataka cadre IAS officers. While Rajneesh Goel is the additional chief secretary to Government of Karnataka (Energy Department), Shalini Rajneesh is principal secretary (Health & Family Welfare Department) GoK.

Shalini IAS will be the first Kannada film to be shot in Pakistan, as Shalini’s ancestors moved to the Punjab province in India, leaving behind their property in Pakistan post partition. Shalini’s father, PP Chabria too was an IAS officer,” India Today reported.

Who is Shalini Rajneesh?

IAS Shalini-kannada -film-
Photo Source: Shalini Rajneesh
  • Dr Shalini Rajneesh is a women’s topper and was the youngest member of the 1989 batch of the Indian administrative services. She served as Principal Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Karnataka and was instrumental in implementing Karnataka’s Guarantee of Services to the Citizens Act, 2011, popularly known as SAKALA.
  • Under this Act, time-bound delivery to citizens of 478 services covering 47 departments is ensured. Within a short span of just two years, since April 2012, 60 million citizens successfully availed of time-bound services. This earned SAKALA the Prime Minister’s Award, Google Innovation Award, National e-Governance Award for Outstanding Performance in Citizen Centric Service Delivery, QCI-DL Shah Quality National Award and CAPAM Award.
  • During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum district, the first historic legislative session was held outside the state capital. Her contribution through a book on inclusive growth for upliftment of the backward regions of Karnataka resulted in an amendment to the Constitution vide Article 371 J, giving special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
  • During her stint as Secretary, Panchayati Raj, she led Karnataka’s win to the 2nd Best Panchayati Raj National Award. She was also appointed Secretary of Women and Child Development, and her contributions garnered nationwide appreciation and recognition. In 2013, Karnataka State Women’s university conferred upon her the title of ‘Doctor of Literature’.
  • Besides Karnataka, she has held various positions in the central government, including in the Ministry of Finance, Civil Aviation, Shipping, Agriculture and Road Transport.

Read more: The Story of a Disabled Bangle Seller Who is Now an IAS officer


About the Film

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Nikhil Manju said he read the book two years ago and was inspired by it. “There are two reasons I liked it and wanted to turn it into a film. A person coming from a village and managing to get through IAS using one’s mother tongue, shows that if you have your goals in sight and have the backing, you can reach any goal. Second, the book sheds much light on organ donation. I have been preparing the script for the last two years,” he said.

Late IAS PP Chabria, Shalini’s father had donated his organs when he passed away earlier this year. Shalini Rajneesh too has taken up the decision of organ donation.

Emphasizing the challenges to adapt the book into a film, he said, “I did not want to limit the film to being a biopic or a documentary. A little bit of fiction had to be added. At the same time there is no glorification of the characters. The film is based on the book no doubt but a written book is so different from a movie. I finally arrived at a script that was agreeable about two months ago.”

The IAS couple will not star in the film.

Manju’s idea of naming the film ‘Shalini IAS’ did not go down well with the couple initially. “They were against the title. I told them that it was not for the sake of glorification or exaggeration. It is an unfortunate fact that unless you have a big star or a very big budget, you will not be able to reach the audience. Either you don’t get theatres and there will be no audience when the film is released. This film’s purpose is to inspire youngsters and people. Since this purpose was positive, they finally agreed,” he said.

Manju is also credited with a national award for his film, Reservation. The film is in-the-making and is stipulated to release on Sankranti next year. 1+1=11 will be the production house for the project.

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