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Get ready for three Amitabh films in four weeks

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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The Amitabh Bachchan season is beginning all over again with showbiz's busiest 60-year-old superstar hitting the screens with as many as three films in a month this summer.

At the end of May is producer Gaurang Doshi's posh war film "Deewaar: Let's Bring The Heroes Home". Two weeks later on June 11 is Govind Nihalani's unusually assembled "Dev".

And before one can recover from the tension created by the avant-garde director it will be time for another AB film, "Lakshya", on June 18.

Initially, both "Dev" and "Lakshya" were scheduled for the same Friday, June 18. But better sense prevailed. Taking a cue from the experience in January when two Amitabh starrers "Khakee" and "Aetbaar" were released simultaneously (with the latter biting the dust), the producers of "Dev" wisely decided to advance their film by a week.

But it's still a total of three releases in four weeks for the mega-star.

The trio of films is significant for the variety of roles and opportunities offered to the Big B.

In "Deewaar", Amitabh is cast as a prisoner of war along with Sanjay Dutt. While the two have appeared together earlier in "Kaante" and "Hum Kisise Kam Nahin", Akshaye Khanna who plays his son is a new entrant in the mega-star's orbit.

Says producer Gaurang Doshi: "Mr. Bachchan is quite the pivotal character in my film. It's not like 'Aetbaar' or 'Mohabbatein' where he was under used. 'Deewaar' is more like 'Baghban' and 'Khakee' in terms of his centrality to the plot. He does a lot of very tough action in the film."

At a time when son Abhishek is being seen as an action hero in "Run", it would be interesting to see how audiences react to the father's stunts in "Deewaar".

"Dev", which opens two weeks after "Deewaar", again has Amitabh in a very centralised role and in interesting star-permutations. His co-star is Om Puri, with whom he has never been cast before, and Kareena Kapoor plays his daughter for the first time.

Interestingly, the third release "Lakshya" also gives Amitabh a chance to work with a director for the first time. Farhan Akhtar casts his childhood idol Amitabh Bachchan in a brief but pivotal role.

In terms of footage "Lakshya" is the least important film of the trio for Amitabh. But the other two films certainly feature him in crucial roles.

"Fortunately, they're all very different films with dissimilar roles for Mr. Bachchan. I certainly have an advantage since my 'Deewaar' comes first," says Gaurang Doshi.

But how do the audiences feel about three Amitabh Bachchan films in a month?

Way back in 1969-1971 then superstar Rajesh Khanna would have as many as two-three releases simultaneously, all hits. Today, the audience is perforce choosy. If they like Amitabh Bachchan in "Deewaar", they'd perhaps be more enthused about "Dev" and "Lakshya".


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