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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Lahore director on the Hollywood remake
Roshmila Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 14, 2010
First Published: 12:33 IST(14/4/2010)
Last Updated: 13:17 IST(14/4/2010)

lahoreSanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s directorial debut, Lahore, is getting set for a Hollywood remake. One of the biggest production houses, Hollywood Gang, with films like Gerard Butler Starrer 300 and the Robert De Niro-Drew Barrymore starrer Everybody’s Fine to its credit, has approached the writer-director for the remake rights.

“The mail came two weeks ago and took us by surprise. When I asked if they wanted to us to arrange for a screening of the film, I was told they had seen it already. I guess, they caught it at some festival and were only waiting for the film to release before making their move,” says an upbeat Chauhan. He admits that there’s a good possibility that he could direct the remake too that would definitely have a far bigger budget and certain changes in the script dictated by geography.

“The Indo-Pak love story that was just a sub-plot could go and the title would change too. But the theme of vendetta would remain with kickboxing as the backdrop.”

Quiz him on the casting and he says it’s too early to comment on it. They could go in for a whole new cast with some big Hollywood names thrown in. “Given a choice, I’d like to repeat some of my actors including debutant Aanaahad who played Veeru and was particularly.impressive in the action sequences. He proved that martial arts is not just the domain of Chinese, Japanese and Thai actors,” says Chauhan.

He however is aware that in Hollywood, creative control lies with the studio and casting decisions are generally taken by them. “If not Aanahaad, I’d definitely like to go with Jet Li, one of my favourite actors,” he says fervently, pointing out that since the film’s release, schools and colleges in the capital have introduced kickboxing as part of the curriculum. Even in Pakistan, martial arts groups are posting reviews of the films on their web sites.

Meanwhile, Chauhan is busy working on two other scripts. One of them is a contemporary sci-fi fantasy adventure that he’d like to get rolling by the year end with some of Hollywood’s biggest technicians at the helm.

“It’s something you’ve never seen on screen before and though there’s no Jadoo like alien, it will have a Navi like character that is sure to make an impression,” he promises.

The other is a period film that will revolve around the Aeyan-Dravidian conflict. He says, “There’s very little literature on this available but we are working on it and I should be able to take you into another whole new world by 2011.”

On Lahore being baned in Pakistan
That was disappointing. I had wanted people from both sides of the border to see and appreciate the film. It was not a Paki bashing film. A top TV star and a producer from Pakistan who saw it in UK, admitted as much. But there were people who objected to certain lines and scenes including that beautiful moment when after Dheeru’s fatal accident in the ring, the girl, Ida, apologises on behalf of her country.May be certain sections didn’t care for that but I wish they had kept the film’s message of amity in mind before taking the decision.

On why it was titled Lahore
I know some people who found the title misleading and believed the film to be another terrorist drama. But for me Lahore represents not just a city in Pakistan but a place of transformation, like Bodh Gaya where Gautam Buddha finally saw the light. Also, for Punjabi and Sindh families who have moved to India post-Partition, Lahore still brings back wonderful memories.

On Lahore being baned in Pakistan
That was disappointing. I had wanted people from both sides of the border to see and appreciate the film. It was not a Paki bashing film. A top TV star and a producer from Pakistan who saw it in UK, admitted as much. But there were people who objected to certain lines and scenes including that beautiful moment when after Dheeru’s fatal accident in the ring, the girl, Ida, apologises on behalf of her country.May be certain sections didn’t care for that but I wish they had kept the film’s message of amity in mind before taking the decision.


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