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No to shooting 'Black' in heritage building

By Baldev S. Chauhan, IANS

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Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has once again been refused permission to shoot in the 120-year-old Viceregal Lodge, which now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) here.

Bhansali has been shooting for his film "Black" starring Amitabh Bachchan in this picturesque Himachal Pradesh capital for the last few days but hasn't been allowed to film in the majestic Viceregal Lodge.

He was here in January this year as well. Then, too, he was not given permission by the IIAS to shoot on the grounds that it would not only disturb scholars working on the campus but also set a bad precedent.

Newspaper reports said Bhansali had permission to shoot from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which looks after the historical monument. However, the IIAS appears unmoved as members of the film unit called on them twice this week.

IIAS officials cite a 1997 Supreme Court judgement that prohibits them to put the heritage structure to any commercial use.

It remains to be seen whether the ASI asserts itself and comes to Bhansali's aid.

"This explains why the leading lady Rani Mukherjee, playing a blind woman, hasn't so far arrived in Shimla even though Amitabh has been in town for the last five days," said a film unit member.

Amitabh, who has been shooting for the film at various locations in and around Shimla, also took some time off to talk to local reporters Wednesday.

He said he was upset by the "overcrowding and mushrooming of concrete structures in Shimla over the last 25 years".

"I have never considered myself a millennium star. Every role is a challenge and has to be played with complete sincerity," he said.

Welcoming the current lot of actors in Bollywood, he said: "Some of the new generation of actors have come up with revolutionary artistic techniques that have enriched the art of acting."

Reacting to the death of legendary comedian Mehmood, Amitabh said: "Mehmood was a great friend who always encouraged me to perform better. A noble person, he always treated everyone as a family.

"Besides, he also gave me an opportunity to perform in 'Saat Hindustani' and 'Bombay to Goa', which were my launching pads."

The star, who was last here for the shooting of the 1970s hit "Muqaddar Ka Sikander", disclosed he would be anchoring the popular television show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" soon.


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