It will be a double Bachchan treat for cinegoers this week with two releases of the Superstar hitting screens today. Releasing in cinema screens across the world are Apoorva Lakhia's Shootout At Lokhandwala and R Balakrishnan's Cheeni Kum, both of them featuring Big B in key roles.
What comes as an added attraction for the Big B lovers is the fact that both the films belong to different genres and thus bring into focus the tremendous versatality of the actor.
While Shootout at Lokhandwala is a realistic action drama based on a true incident, Cheeni Kum is a comedy dealing with the love affair between a 64-year-old played by Amitabh Bachchan, and a 34-year-old played by Tabu.
Being produced by Balaji films of Ekta Kapoor in association with Sanjay Gupta's White Feather films, Shootout at Lokhandwala is inspired by a real life encounter between the Police and the Mumbai underworld.
In the 1991 incident, the bustling Lokhandwala Complex in Mumbai became a virtual war zone when ACP A A Khan opened fire on five underworld gangsters residing in a building in the area. This daylight encounter lasted six hours and ended with the five gangsters being killed.
The film has evoked tremendous excitement in film circles because of the presence of a ensemble cast comprising Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Suneil Shetty, Tushar Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Rohit Roy, Shabbir Ahluwalia and Abhishek Bachchan in a guest appearance.
While the film has Sanjay Dutt playing the role of ACP Khan, it has Vivek Oberoi playing Maya Dolas, the gangster who was shot dead in the encounter, Tushar Kapoor in the role of Maya Dolas's right hand Dilip Buwa. Sunil Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan and Arbaaz Khan play policemen who were part of the team which surrounded the Lokhandwala Building during the encounter.
Amitabh Bachchan plays a lawyer Dhingra in the film. Shootout At Lokhandwala also marks the comeback attempt for actor Vivek Oberoi after many of his films in recent years, barring Omkara have met with a lukewarm response at the box office.
Cheeni Kum, the second film this week featuring Amitabh Bachchan in a romantic musical comedy dealing with the love afair between a 64-year-old man Budhadev Gupta and a 34-year-old woman Nina Verma, played by Tabu. The film also stars comedy king Paresh Rawal and the inimitable Zohra Sehgal, who plays Amitabh Bachchan's mother in the film.
Even before its release, Cheeni kum has created tremendous buzz in films circles. Infact, the film had its world premiere at the 60th edition of the Cannes film festival earlier this week with Big B himself attending the premiere.
The film has been directed by Ad guru R Balakrishnan, who makes his directorial debut with this film. According to Balakrishnan, he scripted it with the one and only Big B and Tabu in mind. "From the very first day I wanted to make this film with him and Tabu. I felt they were absolutely perfect to play the characters of Buddhadev and Nina," Balakrishnan said.
The films has evoked comparisons with Ram Gopal Verma's Nishabd, which shows a 60-year-old man - played by Amitabh Bachchan- falling in love with a teenaged girl. Balakrishnan, however, denies any similarity between Nishabd and Cheeni Kum.
Soon to follow in the coming weeks is another Big B-starrer Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, whose trailers featuring the superstar have already created tremendous buzz in film circles. Produced by Yashraj films, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom has been directed by Shaad Ali.