In 1986, Basu Chatterjee had produced and directed a taut courtroom drama, Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (ERHF), that was a remake of Sidney Lumet’s Golden Bear-winning movie, 12 Angry Men. Twenty-six years later, Vivek Agnihotri, who was making headlines a few months ago with his provocative movie Hate Story, is planning a contemporary remake simply called 12.
“I had intended to make the film a couple of years ago and in 2009 had asked Amitji (Bachchan), Omji (Puri), Atul Kulkarni, Pareshji (Rawal) and Kay Kay Menon. They were all thrilled with the idea, but at the time, no one was ready to fund an offbeat film. They wanted to invest in commercial films with big stars.
My film revolves around a jury of 12 who debate over whether a teenager from the slums, guilty of fatally stabbing his father, deserves death by hanging. I was determined to make it with a dozen of Hindi cinema’s best actors. Since that wasn’t happening, I put the project on hold,” says Vivek.
However, after the success of his small-budget Hate Story, starring newcomer Paoli Dam, Vivek is confident of getting studio support for his dream project. He intends to initiate talks with his wishlist of actors, that includes Pankaj Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah.
When Naseer was sounded out on 12, he expressed his scepticism about ERHF being transported to modern times, pointing out that jury trials were abolished in India in 1960 following the controversial Nanavati case. However, Vivek is confident about its workings. He argues, “The socio-political prejudices that existed decades ago continue to still flourish. Nothing much has changed in our world. I’m planning to shoot it as a thriller.”