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Bollywood tries the paranormal with heroines

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Coming up are several Bollywood films that have heroines portraying paranormal phenomenon.

There's Mahesh Bhatt's "Nazar", for instance, which will star a Pakistani actress.

Basking in the surprise success of "Murder" which he wrote, the enterprising Bhatt is all set to launch Pakistani actress Meera in "Nazar".

He is known to have adapted often from Hollywood films ranging from "Somebody To Watch Over Me" ("Jurm") to "Dragonfly" ("Saaya"). Sure enough, "Nazar" seems more than partly inspired by Irvin Kershner's 1978 supernatural thriller "Eyes Of Laura Mars".

To be directed by his talented wife Soni Razdan, it is a supernatural whodunit about a woman who gets paranormal visions.

But that isn't the only film to cast its leading lady as a woman who undergoes paranormal visions.

In IDreams' underproduction "Naina", which is being shot round-the-clock, Urmila Matondkar plays the role of girl who can "see things".

"Naina", which also has bright young actor Anuj Sawhney, is being directed by the Idreams' top-man Shreepal. It has a marked edge over Bhatt's film.

While "Naina" is more than half complete, "Nazar" will start shooting only after director Soni Razdan returns from London where she's shooting for an English film.

In the meanwhile, there's some disturbing news for both the Bhatts and IDreams. At least two other films featuring psychologically deviant heroines are almost ready for release. And in both cases the role is played by Bipasha Basu !

In Mahesh Manjrekar's "Rakht", adapted from Sam Raimi's "The Gift", Bipasha is cast as a psychic healer who helps nab a wife-beater (Dino Morea).

And in writer-director Saurabh Shukla's far more original "Chehra", Bipasha is again cast - opposite Dino - as a woman who has visions.

While Manjrekar and Shukla's films will release almost at the same time, "Naina" and "Nazar" will follow before the year is through.

Everyone involved with these films is tight-lipped about their projects.

Earlier there was Rekha in Ram Gopal Varma's "Bhoot" and Rati Agnihotri in "Krishna Cottage" as psychic healers. And now the audience will no doubt witness a spate of films featuring leading ladies in all their psychic glory.


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