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Varma to remake 'The Godfather' with Amitabh

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Ram Gopal Varma is about to be unoriginal - with a Hindi film version of "The Godfather" that will star no less than Amitabh Bachchan.

"My next directorial venture, 'Sarkaar', is my faithful version of Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather'. Bachchan plays the role immortalised by Marlon Brando," Varma told IANS.

"'Sarkaar' will start in August or September. I always wanted to do my own version of the story. In spirit, I want to remain as close to the original as possible.

"According to me, 'The Godfather' has nothing to do with the mafia or the underworld. It's about a patriarch and his family honour.

"My film will deal with high politics. The underworld will only be a tool in their hands. Apart from Bachchan I haven't decided the rest of the cast as yet."

What happened to Varma's plans to direct the big-budget espionage thriller "Ek"?

"With India and Pakistan extending a hand of friendship to each other, 'Ek' with its theme of international terrorism seems politically incorrect. I decided 'Ek' isn't so relevant at this moment."

Like the postponed "Ek", "Sarkaar" will be produced by high-flying financier Bharat Shah.

Incidentally, two years ago Mahesh Manjrekar had planned to remake "The Godfather" in Hindi as "Kutumb" with Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan for producer Feroz Nadiadwala. The project got shelved.

Feroz Khan had made the first Hindi version of "The Godfather" in the early 1970s. Entitled "Dharmatma", it starred the late Premnath in Brando's role. Ever since, various versions of the film have been attempted.

Varma and Bachchan might now come up with a unique version of the story.

The filmmaker has just about wrapped up his first film with Abhishek called "Naach". The Abhishek-Antara Mali starrer is rumoured to be a remake of the Chinese film, "In The Mood For Love".

Varma is amused. "Never heard of this Chinese film in my life. 'Naach' is very much an original film. I've never made an unoriginal film in my life.

"But now I'm about to," he says, referring to "The Godfather" spin-off.


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