Smooth sailing OF MANGAL PANDEY

Producer Bobby Bedi has ruled out any possibility of screenings of THE RISING being disrupted by the 'Amar Shield Mangal Pandey Memorial Committee', or the natives of Bagwa, the birthplace of Mangal Pandey. The Mangal Pandey Memorial Committee had earlier expressed strong displeasure about the village of Bagwa being totally sidelined in the making of the film with no single scene canned there. Download Mangal Pandey WallpapersThe Committee had also raised strong objections about the character of Mangal Pandey reportedly shown enjoying a ?mujra? in the film. In an exclusive interview to, Bedi revealed that neither the committee nor the people of Bagwa had seen the film so far. "They cannot come to any conclusions about whether the film is for or against Mangal Pandey unless they see it, so there is no question of being presumptuous about anything. As for not shooting in Bagwa, we had made it very clear from the outset that the film is based on an incident in Baragpur that made Mangal Pandey into a national hero and gave a new light to the freedom movement. We would have loved to shoot in Bagwa but it would not have made sense considering that it has nothing to do with the story-line," Bedi revealed.

Bedi has also dispelled any anxiety about the Indian audiences being unreceptive to the film due to its historical lineage, following doubts raised by a section of trade skeptics. "We have full confidence in the story and the narrative of the film, irrespective of the fact that it is a historical. The film is one of the biggest creative achievements where everything is perfectly in place from the scripting to the direction and Aamir Khan's laudable performance. No other actor would have given that kind of time and involvement in a film as Aamir did," he said, adding that the price paid to Aamir (reported to be a whopping Rs 7 crores) for every bit worth the actor's contribution to the film.

Meanwhile, he is reticent to talk about the budget of the film, which is said to have exceeded Rs 50 crores. "I have been reading that all kinds of figures have been floating about the budget of the film. The actual budget is five to six times less than the speculated one. Besides, I have practically recovered the investment on the film after its distributors and exhibitors have taken over. My main concern now is to see that it gets its due at the box-office. We are releasing the film with over 1000 prints all over considering its tremendous pre-release anticipation," he says.

Bedi is planning to take a one and a half years break before he starts work on his next project, a three-film series on THE MAHABHARAT, to be directed by Mani Ratnam, which is likely to see Aamir and Shah Rukh coming together for the first time. "That will begin sometime in January 2007, so it?s too premature to talk about it now. But yes, I am definitely working with Aamir again," he smiles.