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By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
This week, Amitabh Bachchan is about to star in a film titled "Deewar" for the second time in his life and its producer is hoping it will again make Bollywood history.
Producer Gaurang Doshi, who teamed up two years ago with the mighty Bachchan for "Aankhen", goes for a massive adventure story with the actor in "Deewar: Let's Bring Our Heroes Home".
Doshi admits the film is far bigger and more epic in proportion. "It's a natural progression. One tends to go from one level to a larger level, and that's what I've done with my second film."
"Deewaar" breaks conventional definitions of entertainment. Writer Sridhar Raghavan who earlier did the other masculine piece "Khakee" is treading on untried territory here.
"Deewaar" zeroes in on a congregation of Indian prisoners of war held captive in Pakistan for many decades who are determined to break lose.
Says Doshi, "'Deewaar' is a prisoner-of-war escape adventure drama, like Richard Attenborough's'The Great Escape'. But it isn't a copy of the film or any other Hollywood film.
"My writer Sridhar and director Milan Luthria took up a very poignant theme - there are prisoners of war in Pakistan who haven't seen their family, some of them don't know what their children look like - and turned it into an adventure drama unlike any other seen before."
The thrill-a-minute plot has been designed as a political parable. Says Doshi, "While on one hand it addresses itself to a serious political problem - that of prisoners of war - on the other hand, 'Deewaar' is a straightforward action-adventure story."
While Bachchan stars as a prisoner of war, Sanjay Dutt is cast as a mercenary who helps the prisoners of war make their breathtaking escape.
Sanjay scored bull's eye with "Munnabhai M.B.B.S." last year but failed miserably with "Plan" and "Rudraksh" this year.
"Since Bachchan is exceptionally fond of Sanjay Dutt in real life, they make great co-stars together. Their scenes together are among the highlights of 'Deewaar'."
Akshaye Khanna plays Bachchan's son. His last film "Hungama" was a successful comedy. If all had gone well, Akshaye would have been seen with Bachchan in this year's cops thriller "Khakee". But he dropped out at the eleventh hour.
The enormously talented K.K. Menon of "Chhal" fame plays a pivotal role. In fact "Deewaar" is another all-male macho film like several other notable movies this year such as "Khakee" and "Aan".
The only female presence is Amrita Rao, considered a lucky mascot after three hits, "Ishq Vishq", "Masti" and "Main Hoon Na", in less than two years of her career. Amrita plays a Pakistani girl in "Deewaar".
Would the sweaty, rugged, muddy ambience of "Deewaar" put family audiences off? "Not the least," asserts Doshi. "Because at heart 'Deewaar' is a very emotional father-son story."
The film is important for Amitabh Bachchan. After the walk-on part in "Lakshya" last week, "Deewaar" again puts him at the forefront.
A film called "Deewaar" 30 years ago had changed the course of the Bachchan's career. Would the new-millennium "Deewaar" do the same?
"I sure hope so. Bachchan is beyond outstanding in 'Deewaar'. I've decided I'll never make a film without him," vows Doshi.
"Deewaar" is being pitched against the huge historical Hollywood Warner Brothers epic "Troy" this week. But Doshi isn't daunted.
"If 'Troy' had Brad Pitt, my film has Bachchan, Sanjay and Akshaye Khanna. And if 'Troy' recreates history, 'Deewaar' is going to create history." Touché?