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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

From Happy New Year to Aur Devdas: Bollywood off the back-burner

Prashant Singh, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 07, 2014
First Published: 16:03 IST(7/8/2014) | Last Updated: 19:50 IST(7/8/2014)
It was over five years ago that Anurag Kashyap had first talked about his ambitious project, Bombay Velvet.

At that time, names like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan were being considered for the lead role. But the film is finally seeing the light of day now, with Ranbir Kapoor playing the protagonist.

Similarly, Kashyap’s other venture, Doga, based on the comic book character of the same name, has been green-lighted after several years of wait.

That’s not all. Reportedly, Sudhir Mishra, who was set to remake the 1962 film, Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, five years ago, has reworked the script of his version.

The film is now titled Aur Devdas, and stars Rahul Bhatt and Richa Chadda in lead roles.

It’s striking how, of late, many Bollywood projects that were put on the back-burner for years are being revived in a grand manner.

Destiny’s child
"I strongly believe that a film has its own destiny, and it will be made when it has to," says film-maker Farah Khan, who is "happy and relieved" that Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer Happy New Year — that she planned almost a decade ago — has turned out the way she wanted it. "The idea for Happy New Year struck me immediately after Main Hoon Na (2004), but I didn’t make it at that time as I got busy with a lot of things — Om Shanti Om (2007), my marriage and kids," adds Farah.

She is not the only film-maker who has had this experience.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali had first expressed his desire to make a film on Baji Rao, titled Bajirao Mastani, almost 15 years ago. But it is only now that he has started work on it. The film stars Ranveer Singh and Deepika in the lead roles.

"It’s a good thing that so many films are being revived. Of course, any film-maker would be saddened if their film is shelved for a long time, but if they are reviving it after years, it shows that they are still confident of the script and its value," says director Anees Bazmee, whose upcoming film, No Entry Mein Entry, starring Salman has also been on the waiting list for a few years now.

Similarly, Shekhar Kapur, who has been working on his film, Paani, for around 13 years now, is finally making it with Sushant Singh Rajput.

Point of return
Trade expert Taran Adarsh views the revival as a positive trend. He says, "A film gets delayed due to various reasons — from the requirement of particular actors to financial issues. The recent revivals also signify that markets have opened up in a big way. So, makers are willing to make different kinds of films."

In fact, a few recent Bollywood releases have been projects that were in the pipeline for a long time. Arjun Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer 2 States was being planned since 2010 by producer Sajid Nadiadwala with actors like Saif Ali Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan, but clearly, things didn’t work out.

Also, Imtiaz Ali intended to make this year’s Highway as his first film.
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