Bollywood never shies away from reinterpreting reality. And now, the controversial case of missing Rajasthani nurse Bhanwari Devi is the latest on the burgeoning list of Hindi films inspired by real life.
Producer Mahendra Dhariwal, who made films like Maa Tujjhe Salaam (2002) and Nehlle Pe Dehlla (2007), claims he is planning to make a film on Devi’s disappearance and alleged murder.
Interestingly, Dhariwal claims to be in talks with Bipasha Basu to play the title role. “We’re also discussing the project with Mallika Sherawat, apart from Bipasha. They’ve agreed in principle but nothing is confirmed right now,” he asserts.
Dhariwal has already registered a title for his film — Ajab Bhanwari ki Gazab Kahani — seemingly along the lines of Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif starrer Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani (2009).
“I need an actor who can shoot continuously in a start-to-finish schedule towards the end of February. We will see how dates work out. That’s why no paper work has been done yet,” he adds.
Bipasha, who has already worked with Dhariwal in Nehlle Pe Dehlla, doesn’t deny the news: “Any announcement will happen in a proper manner. Right now, there’s nothing. What has been confirmed after Players, is Jodi Breakers and (Hollywood director Roland Joffé’s) Singularity, followed by Raaz 3 that goes on floors in some time.”
Mallika, who is busy shooting for Sanjay Khanduri’s Kismat Love Paisa Dilli, remained unavailable for a comment. But Mallika’s team members feigned ignorance about any such offer.
Dhariwal, on his part, will direct as well as produce the film. He claims he has been researching the subject for a long time. “But since the case is coming to a close, I feel it’s the right time to go ahead with it. And within a week’s time, I’m sure we will have more clarity,” he says.
Dhariwal insists it will be a mainstream film with lots of music and songs. “Since Bhanwari Devi was involved with a lot of Rajasthani music albums, we will have local music and folk songs,” he says, adding that he plans to approach actors Divya Dutta, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah for other roles in the film.
Bhanwari Devi, a nurse and mid-wife who lived near Jodhpur, disappeared in September last year. She had also featured on some popular folk song albums. Two politicians, who Devi was allegedly having affairs with, have been arrested in connection with her murder. Minister for Water Resources Mahipal Maderna was sacked after his liaison with the missing nurse was revealed. Reports claim that she was blackmailing him with a sex tape. MLA Malkhan Singh is the other politician under investigation.