A Hollywood film, The Devil’s Double, based on the true story of Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, is gearing up for a US release this Friday. Elsewhere, including India and Pakistan, it will open only on August 12. Its Indian distributor, Rakesh Jain of JRD Films, admits to the possibility of Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier and Uday’s body double on whose horrific personal account The Devil’s Double is based, visiting the country to promote it.
“Latif was at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010 where the film was officially unveiled and has been active at press conferences. He should be at the US premiere. I’ve mailed a request for him to be flown down to India too,” says Jain, who, wowed by a clipping he saw, negotiated a deal for the Indian rights last July. “After a screening at the Sundance Film Festival, the worldwide rights were picked up by Lionsgate, along with Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions for UK and Australia.”
Directed by Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day and XXX 2), the film stars Dominic Cooper, who is being pitched as an Oscar contender. Jain’s unfazed about the two-week lag period between the US and worldwide release. “Good reviews and hype can only help our cause. Osama Bin Laden and Saddam are familiar names here. The controversial film that created a buzz at Cannes, Sundance and the Berlin film festival can be a crowd-puller here too. We’ll dub it in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It’s been treated like a gangster movie, but what you see on screen is what happened,” he says.
Of course, not all that’s real is palatable. Keeping censor guidelines and Indian sensibilities in mind, Jain plans to chop two scenes before going to the Censor Board of Film Certification. “One is a scene at a party where Uday orders everyone to strip. It’s graphic, almost pornographic. The other is of him cutting open the stomach of his father’s close associate whom he blames for destroying his life by supplying whores to Saddam, and the organs spilling out. Too gory, almost gruesome,” shudders Jain.