Akshay Kumar could well be seen in a historical role soon. An ambitious film co-production between the government of India and producer Firoz Nadiadwala is under the process of being finalised. The opus will be based on the life of Ram Chandra popularly Pandurang, known as Tatya Tope (1814-1859), the legendary hero of India's first freedom struggle in 1857.
The film on Tatya Tope is a 50-50 per cent joint venture between the ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Nadiadwala's film production company .
The budget is estimated at Rs 50 crore which will be shared by the ministry and the producer. Sources in the ministry state that the I & B minister, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, is yet to sign the joint venture deal.
The formalities are expected to be completed very soon. The ministry had constituted a committee to finalise the name of the producer for the joint venture. The committee included Shyam Benegal, Javed Akhtar, Yash Chopra and Prof K C Yadav, a historian from Haryana. Sources also say that before zeroing on Nadiadwala, actor-producer Anil Kapoor and producer Kumar Mangat had been approached by the ministry to be part of the project.
Eventually both refused to be the co-producer, citing various reasons.
<b1>According to government officials, objections were raised by certain quarters for selecting "people who are not ideal for making a historical film on Tatya Tope." One such objection was raised, it is learnt, by Shatrughan Sinha, actor and MP.
During a meeting of the I & B ministry's standing committee, it was contended that the government must consult film personalities who are in Parliament before taking any final decision.
The selection of Vinay Shukla ( The Godmother) as the director of the proposed Rs 50-crore film has also raised many eyebrows.
The I & B minister has decided upon the National Film Developement Corporation (NFDC) to be the main agency for the film's co-production.
The rights of the joint venture film will remain with the I&B ministry for seven years. Profit sharing will be done on a 50-50 per cent basis.
According to an earlier proposal, the Tatya Tope film had a budget of Rs 35 crore. In that plan, Rs 25 crore was to come from the government which would remain the sole proprietor of the film.
The government is hopeful that considering Firoz Nadiadwala's good working relationship with Akshay, Kumar, it will not be difficult to get him on board.