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Razdan wants to shake off sleaze maker label
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Scriptwriter-filmmaker Karan Razdan is enjoying his claim to notoriety.
"Hawas" and the ready-for-release "Girlfriend" have given him the shocker's reputation.
The producers of "Roshni" - his first directorial venture that got held up due to corporate trouble - have re-christened the film "Rakhail: The Mistress" and are raring to release it.
"Today distributors know my films are capable of quick recovery. They pick up my films without a second thought," Razdan told IANS.
But, he added: "I don't endorse this kind of perverse sensationalism. 'Roshni' didn't release because of a financial mess. You've no idea how frustrated it made me. That's why I've gone from 'Hawas' to 'Girlfriend' and now I'm planning 'Eight'.
"It's a creative man's frantic efforts to find himself. My next film 'Eight' is about the powers of shani (Saturn)...no titillation here, though there's a scene of complete nudity where the hero and heroine chant in the forest to evoke a spirit.
"Of course, the nudity would be suggested. But 'Eight' is a spiritual film about the link between the living and the dead.
"It will feature my 'Hawas' heroine Meghna Naidu with Raj Tara, a debutant model, like Shawar Ali and Tarun Arora in 'Hawas'. I'm also introducing the thespian Raj Kumar's daughter Vastavikta in 'Eight' and Padmini Kolhapure makes a comeback in it."
Razdan is all geared up for the release of his new film "Girlfriend" June 11.
" Girlfriend is looking so polished. I admit 'Hawas' didn't wear a polished look. That was because producers couldn't back my vision any more than they did. Everyone made money on 'Hawas'. It did a business of Rs.6-7 million in Delhi alone.
"The budget in Girlfriend is much higher than 'Hawas'."
"Hawas" came a week before the hit "Murder". Both could be sourced to Adrian Lyne's "Unfaithful".
"I didn't see 'Murder'....But yes, 'Hawas' was inspired by 'Unfaithful'. When I was offered the chance to direct that film I was totally down and out. What choice did I have?
"Today, thanks to 'Hawas', I have a long list of producers who want me to direct films for them. But Girlfriend is completely original. It bears no resemblance to any film from any language.
"As a scriptwriter I never wrote plagiarised stories. Whether it was 'Dushmani', 'Dilwale' or 'Diljale', they were all mine. Girlfriend is completely my baby."
About the Bhatts releasing a film on the same theme, Razdan says: "What can I say? The other producer knew I was making it and he still chose to go ahead with the same theme. My producer was a little slow. So the Bhatts went and quickly shot the same story in Bangkok. Very unfair."
Razdan admits "Girlfriend" has tremendous titillation value. "It's about a closet lesbian played by Isha Koppiker. So to that extent it would raise eyebrows."
"But it isn't so much about lesbianism as drama in the truest cinematic sense."
What about the lack of star power in his cinema? "You tell me, of what use are stars when 'Aetbaar', 'Yuva' and 'Lakeer' with truckloads of stars couldn't get an audience? 'Kismet' and 'Bardaasht' came and went without audiences realising it."
Razdan is determined to change his image of a sleaze maker.
"Girlfriend hardly has any bare skin. There're no kissing scene...I think Girlfriend will shock audiences. It gives audiences a peep into the true filmmaker in me.
"Fortunately the two years that I sat at home after 'Roshni' gave me a chance to write several scripts. So there's no dearth of scripts. Today I can handle my success with humility.
"You wait for 'Eight'. I'm going to dedicate it to my dead wife, Priya Tendulkar. A new phase in our relationship began after she went away. Today she's my guardian angel. We're in touch at least twice a day. Her loss has made me value all the people in my life. Now I pray not just for the living but also those who are gone."