Wild rumours having sprung up about Ram Gopal Varma's next release Sarkar Raj, the director has set the record straight, saying neither does Abhishek Bachchan's character die nor does he have a romantic alliance with Aishwarya Rai in the movie.
Excerpts from an interview:
Does Abhishek Bachchan's character die in Sarkar Raj?
No he does not die in the film.
So where did that come from?
I've no clue. There's so much rumour floating around the film, I don't know whether to be amused or frightened. They first imagined the hero dies. Then they imagined that the distributors were scared of his death. Everyone has an imagination and the freedom to use it.<b1>
To take a much larger issue, look at the way the murder of that girl, Aarushi Talwar, in Delhi is being made into a cause for speculation. I've only made a film.
You've said a man could've played Aishwarya Rai's role?
Yes, I have. She has no romantic association with Abhishek's character at all. It's not a conscious decision to keep them away from romance. The emotional aspect of a relationship can be manifested in many ways. In Sarkar Raj, it comes across as drama, treachery, power play and betrayal. In the light of all these emotions, Aishwarya's relationship with Abhishek is treated very unconventionally. Theirs is not a romantic relationship. Not even a hint of it.
So did you ever actually consider casting a man in Aishwarya's role?
No, not at all! It was always Aishwarya. The very fact that she's a woman would make a subtext in the audience's minds, though she doesn't share any relationship with Abhishek. But if I had cast a man in her role, it'd make no difference to the main plot.
How did you resist the temptation to incorporate a relationship between Abhishek and Aishwarya?
It wasn't difficult at all. I don't believe the hero and heroine have to romance. My intentions in Sarkar Raj are not to cash in on star value.<b2>
How political is Sarkar Raj?
I don't even know how to spell politics. But, yes, I do read the papers. And I draw inferences from the headlines. I knew about Bal Thackeray, so I conceived Mr. Bachchan. But I don't know the Shiv Sena's ideology or what politics Raj Thackeray represents.
What about the actor Rajesh Shringharpure's resemblance to Raj Thackeray?
See, I've been a fan of Raj Thackeray's personality. I know him for years. His face has stayed with me. When I saw this actor, I immediately saw the resemblance and signed him. On seeing Rajesh I might have referred to Raj's personality because of their obvious resemblance. I might have incorporated personality traits from Raj Thackeray. But my character has nothing to do with Raj Thackeray's politics.