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Amitabh Bachchan teams up with Shabana
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
They came together 15 years ago in the political parable "Main Azad Hoon". And now actors par excellence Amitabh Bachchan and Shabana Azmi are set to co-star in another film.
Rituparno Ghosh has finally zeroed in on a leading lady for his ambitious Bachchan starrer in Hindi.
Says Ghosh: "In hindsight, Shabana almost seems like an inevitable choice. The role of Bachchan's wife requires great dramatic highs in the performing graph. And who is better equipped to handle it than Shabana?
"I've been looking forward to directing her all my career. I believe she's one of the finest actresses this country has produced."
The hyperactive director has met Shabana. After hearing him out, Shabana has consented.
"I'll be shooting my Abhishek Bachchan-Soha Ali Khan film in September. I hope to shoot my Amitabh-Shabana film in February-March 2005," says Ghosh.
Besides Shabana, the film will star another very prominent actress.
Post-"Tehzeeb", Shabana has just completed playwright Mahesh Dattani's "Morning Raga" where she plays a Carnatic singer. Ghosh's offer comes to her at a time when she could do with another challenge.
Considering the combustion she has created with directors from Kolkata in the past, like Satyajit Ray ("Shatranj Ke Khiladi"), Mrinal Sen ("Ek Din Achanak"), Aparna Sen ("Picnic", "Sati") and Gautam Ghose ("Paar", "Patang"), the Ghosh-Shabana pair is expected to create something special.
Bachchan seems fairly pleased with the announcement. "I've worked with Shabana in one of my favourite films, 'Main Azad Hoon'. We were also together in Manmohan Desai's 'Amar Akbar Anthony' and 'Parvarish' though she was not paired with me.
"She's an extremely focussed actress. I'm looking forward to working with her."
Bachchan's line-up of co-stars is getting distinctly interesting: Rani Mukherjee in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black", Sharmila Tagore in Mahesh Manjrekar's "Viruddh", Madhuri Dixit in Somnath Sen's untitled film and now Shabana in Ghosh's film.
Will any of these illustrious ladies create the same magic as Hema Malini did with him in "Baghban"?