Will Urmila be M.F. Husain's new muse

After Madhuri Dixit and Tabu, now Urmila Matondkar could become painter-filmmaker M.F. Husain's muse.

Husain has offered Urmila a full-fledged out-and-out Lucille Ball kind of situational comedy. But she hasn't yet said yes.

"I'd love to work with Husain saab. I'm at an interesting juncture in my career where I'm ready to explore new avenues. After an extremely hectic 2003, I'm so far jobless in 2004," Urmila told IANS.

She was noticed for her performances in "Bhoot", "Pinjar", "Tehzeeb" and "Ek Hasina Thi" in 2003.

"I want to do only the roles that would take me further than where I went with my films last year. Otherwise what's the point?" asks Urmila.

The Husain project interests her. "Because I've never done a full-fledged comic role before. I'm waiting for Husain saab to finish the script. I'm sure he'll come up with an interesting one. The concept is very interesting."

This project will entirely be Husain's baby. His son Owais, who directed "Meenaxi", will have nothing to with this proposed comedy.

Says Owais: "My father has told me about the comedy. But I have my own plans. I'll be directing my own film after 'Meenaxi' where I'll be taking credit or discredit for everything. It's again to do with the search for love. What my father chooses to do is entirely up to him."

While Husain puts together his whimsical comedy, Urmila will have to reckon with one inevitable fall-out: her film will be closer in mood and feeling to "Gaja Gamini", which the senior Husain directed, than "Meenaxi", executed entirely by Owais.

For Urmila, a film without a script, is now a complete no-no. She said no to Tanuja Chandra's film to be shot in the US with 9/11 as the backdrop.

"It'd have been interesting to work with Tanuja, as I've never worked with a woman director in all these years in the industry."

Urmila has been approached by Pritish Nandy Communications for two plum assignments.

"Ashq", a thriller directed by debutant Anirban who has assisted Kalpana Lajmi, has an author-backed role for Urmila. She's amused and surprised by a controversy regarding the casting.

"I met the producer once, and nothing has been finalised yet. I'm being informed by journalists that Lara Dutta was supposed to have done that role. As though I'm in some way being compromised by being the second choice, or whatever.

"But let's not forget, at the very start of my career I did 'Judaai', which had been turned down by a lot of actresses, including Karisma. And wasn't 'Chameli' supposed to have been made with another actress before Kareena Kapoor stepped in?

"Casting changes are an essential part of the movie-making process. Why make an issue of a routine exercise? I'd rather concentrate on doing my role than thinking about who could've done it."