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Vishal Bhardwaj plans costliest Bollywood film

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Music composer-turned-film director Vishal Bhardwaj is planning to make Bollywood's costliest film.

But, before that, he wants to make a movie about children again - this time based on a story by Ruskin Bond, "The Blue Umbrella".

"I was fascinated by the story from the time I read it. It stayed with me. And now, after the dark 'Maqbool', I needed to do something again with children like 'Makdee'," Bhardwaj told IANS.

He has selected five children nominated by NGOs in Delhi.

"The film needed fresh faces. These children are fantastic actors. My experience is that grownup actors often behave like children whereas children always behave professionally.

"Actually 'The Blue Umbrella' is about children but it isn't a children's film. In that sense it would be like Gulzar saab's 'Kitaab'."

Bhardwaj shot down rumours that he has approached Hrithik Roshan to star in his other proposed project, "Mantra", to be produced by Shekhar Kapur.

"It's a very complicated script. It's a very difficult plot about the relationship between the real and magical world. It'll be the costliest film ever made in this country, even costlier than Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Devdas'.

"Since it will be for the international market the investments have a good chance of being recovered."

Bhardwaj's other literary adaptation, "Timbuktu", with Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi, has been delayed because the director wants to rework the script.

"In fact, I have Vivek and Aishwarya's dates from August. But I won't utilise those dates. They both love the script. But to their surprise, I decided to rework the idea.

"Aishwarya's secretary is shell-shocked. He says he has never come across a director who has purposely let her dates go by!"

Bhardwaj's next film, to be shot in October and tentatively titled "The Blue Umbrella" or "Chatri Chor", will star Pankaj Kapur in the main role.

"'Maqbool' did a world of good to this brilliant actor," says Vishal about the film that he adapted from Shakespeare's "Macbeth".

"But he's being very selective. He only agreed to play the main villain in Anubhav Sinha's 'Dus'. I'm privileged to have him back in my project.

"I want to make a film that I like. If I don't like it myself then I can't expect others to like my film. I've to be very careful. It took me 20 years to find my bearing. I recorded my first song in 1984. Now I'm directing films."

Literature seems to have entered Indian cinema in a big way.

While Gurinder Chadha has adapted Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice", Nikhil Advani of "Kal Ho Na Ho" fame is planning to bring another work of English Literature, Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women", to the Indian milieu.


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