Mother India in Nepalese - with Manisha Koirala.
Nearly five decades after the classic "Mother India" was filmed, the epic story of a village family's struggle will be remade in Nepalese - possibly starring Manisha Koirala.
By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
The new version, "Nepal Amma", is to be made by a newly established production company called 888.
The central character of Radha, who evolves from a shy bride to the village matriarch, was played in the original "Mother India" by Nargis with astounding verisimilitude, fetching her the best actress award at the Karlovy Vary festival.
When shooting for the remake starts in February 2005, Nargis' role is likely to go to Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala, who is a native of Nepal.
Veteran Nepalese actor-director Neer Shah, who is directing 888's debut film, said Manisha has informally agreed to play the role. "It's a character that any actress would give an arm to play," Shah said.
Despite her present releases like "Market" and "Tum" bombing at the box office, Shah said Manisha was a "versatile" actress who could do full
justice to the role.
So far, only two members of the cast have been selected.
The villainous moneylender, Lala, who was the cause of much of the woes of Nargis and her family, was played by Kanhaiyalal in the original film. In the remake, it will be played by Shah himself.
The director has not been chosen as yet for the film that will first be shot in Nepalese and then dubbed in Hindi. The Nepalese version will be adapted to the Himalayan kingdom.
The starkly realistic "Mother India" directed by Mehboob Khan sees Radha's husband Shamu, played by Raj Kumar, leaving home in despair when his hands get crushed. Despite searching frantically for him, Radha is never reunited with him.
The film's publicity also underscored the grimness of the story. "The grain of rice on your table," it said, "does not tell the grim tale of the toil that grew it."
However, the people associated with the remake say the original is a bit "bland" and would have to be jazzed up with more dance sequences to suit present-day tastes.
"The flavour would come from numbers in the style of nautanki (traditional Indian village dance) like in the Bollywood film 'Tisri Kasam'," an organiser said.
"Besides that, there will be no major changes," the organiser told IANS.
What made them choose a film that would be difficult to measure up to?
"Because it is one of the greatest classics of Indian cinema," the organiser said.
"No one who has seen it once can ever forget it. Even today's generations would be gripped by a film made almost 50 years ago."
The original film had established its heroine Nargis as a symbol of strength, love and willpower. It was also the backdrop against which Nargis fell in love in real life with actor Sunil Dutt, who played her son in the film.
Manisha Koirala Wallpapers