November 18, 2011 01:25:28 PM IST Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
A documentary based on the life of a Kolkata based private detective Rajesh Ji titled THE BENGALI DETECTIVE, directed by Philip Cox, had created quite a stir in the film festival circuit and Fox Searchlight, the parent company of Fox Star Studios, India, had bought its feature film remaking rights at Sundance 2011.
AAMIR KAHN and SHAHRUKH KHAN
The news is that Fox Searchlight has handed over the direction duties of the proposed feature film to the British director Stephen Frears who has won Oscar nominations for his films like THE QUEEN, and THE GRIFTERS while D.V. DeVentis will write its script. Both of them have worked together on films like HIGH FIDELITY, and LAY THE FAVORITE.
Now, since the director and the writer are in place, and the script is under development, the casting process will soon be under way and those who wish to take a shot at the title role are advised to get a DVD copy of the original documentary to study the character of Rajesh Ji, and alert their agents abroad.
However, the big question is who can play the title role in the film being made by the distributors of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE? It is almost certain that the director, producers, and distributors of the film will be looking for an actor from the Indian sub-continent, probably a big time star, to lead the cast to get maximum traction from the fast expanding domestic film market of India.
Who will it be? The role has all the ingredients of becoming popular with international audiences and requires an actor in middle ages. The two names that instantly come to mind are Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan. It will be an opportunity for them to play a leading role in an international project and achieve global stardom and acclaim. Last time SRK missed the bus when he refused SLUMDOG MILIONNAIRE that went on to create Oscar history. Anil Kapoor got lucky at that time. SRK will certainly be wiser now, more so because it's a leading role unlike SLUMDOG...
On the other hand Aamir may also be keen to do a truly world class film helmed by a top of the line director to establish his acting credentials worldwide. He may not admit it but the fact is that his production house has been constantly trying to develop a film that works equally well with global as well as domestic audiences. He had also tasted international fame with LAGAAN ten years ago, which proved to be the big turning point of his life. THE BENGALI DETECTIVE can be a natural choice for him as a part of his carefully calibrated career strategy and plan.
Should we expect the rivalry between the Khans reaching a new level of intensity over this?
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)