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Reality bites, Gudiya's story to become film

By Subhash K Jha, IANS

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The dramatic story of an armyman's 'widow' being re-married and pregnant with her second husband's child when the first husband returns from a Pakistan jail is ready to be filmed by ad-maker Prabhakar Shukla.

Divya DuttaThe traumatic dilemma of Gudiya, prisoner of war Mohammed Arif and her second husband Taufiq is perhaps more intense than any screen triangle. And Divya Dutta is all set to play the role of the young woman in Shukla's film.

But, considering the shabby and sensationalistic way real life stories have gone in our cinema, is the young director simply trying to cash in on a personal tragedy?

Shukla defends his creative cause stoutly.

"To me, there can be no cinema without an entertainment, social or educational value. Without one or the other of these values you cannot hope to get an audience for your film. As for real-life characters getting a raw deal in our films, you've the example of Shekhar Kapur's "Bandit Queen" which portrayed a real-life character so sensitively that the audiences accepted the truth as cinematic truth.

"Even social reality has to be presented in an entertaining manner. There'll be no songs or anything in my film. But the issue has to be entertaining. Otherwise who would want to sit through it? What really inspired me about Gudiya's story was the truth about gender discrimination underlining her plight. A man can marry four times but a woman can't ask for a divorce even once. Does human emotion have no value for the law? I've studied the law and respect it. My father is a lawyer."

Gudiya's story is more cinematic than cinema. Shukla laughs, "Real life is so strange. But in this case one peculiar thing happened. The people involved in Gudiya's case said nothing against her. But the public felt great wrong had been done to her."

Shukla is very happy with actress Divya Dutta who will play Gudiya. "She fits the role perfectly. Because she has no fixed image she just blends into the character."

Divya DuttaAdds Divya, "I fell in love with the idea and my character of Gudiya the minute I heard about it. Though I'm playing the lead in a majority of my forthcoming films (except Yash Chopra's "Veer-Zaara" where I've a small but significant role) no other film is so directly inspired by real life. I was totally moved by Gudiya's plight, her vulnerability and her helplessness."

Divya, who has earlier done remarkable work in Pamela Rooks' "A Train To Pakistan" and Mahesh Manjrekar's "Pran Jaye Par Chawl Na Jaye" intends to meet the real-life Gudiya before shooting begins in about a month.

"It's so funny. But while I was shooting Gurdas Maan's film with Juhi Chawla in Chandigarh everyone kept calling me Gudiya. It was almost like a premonition."


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