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Anurag leaves Murder behind

Basu is busy with his new film on the life of metro denizens, reports Saibal Chatterjee.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2006 19:26 IST

Mention the name of Anurag Basu and the first thing that comes to mind is Murder. That is neither his first film nor his best, but until Gangster happened, that Unfaithful rip-off was the Bollywood writer-director’s calling card.

But Basu is now set to move beyond murders and gangsters. He is currently engaged in providing finishing touches to the script of his next film, Metro, a sly, funny look at the problems that beset big city denizens.

“Credit card debts, loan traps, pressures of work, relationship issues – the metro person has to contend with a plethora of challenges on a daily basis,” he says. “That is what the film will delve into in an essentially light-hearted vein.”

Metro, scheduled to roll later this year, will be Basu’s first film outside the Bhatt camp. All his films to date, including his debut effort, the John Abraham-Tara Sharma starrer Saaya, have been produced by Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films. One of Bollywood’s biggest production houses will be bankrolling Metro.

Metro isn’t, however, the only venture on Basu’s anvil. Mentor Mahesh Bhatt is, in collaboration with a London-based journalist, writing the screenplay of

Suicide Bomber,

a story set in the aftermath of the July 7 London bomb blasts. “My knowledge of terrorism is at best bookish, so I’m not scripting

Suicide Bomber

,” Basu says.

Suicide Bomber will have Mahesh Bhatt’s son, Rahul, essaying the role of young, disenchanted British Asian Muslim from Bradford. The film will be shot both in India and the UK.

Gangster, running to packed houses in the multiplexes for over five weeks now, has turned out to be the second big success of Basu’s brief career. “I was always sure that the film would do well, but the positive critical response has taken me by surprise,” the director says.

Gangster is, incidentally, the first film of his for which he has been credited as screenwriter. Amol Shetge scripted Saaya, while Murder was based on a Mahesh Bhatt screenplay.

“I really don’t understand how the director and the screenplay writer can be two different people. The only way a film can fully reflect the vision of the person who directs it is when the same individual has also authored the script,” Basu argues.

Basu, who suffered a false start to his big screen directorial career and then had to battle cancer, has emerged form the reverses a much stronger man and a more focussed professional. Major differences with producer Ekta Kapoor had forced him out of his first venture, Kucch To Hai, and hospitalisation prevented him from completing what would have been his third film, Tumsa Nahin Dekha. “I directed only 15 per cent of Tumsa Nahin Dekha, so I don’t count it as my film at all,” he says.

Although he claims that he doesn’t know how and why the Bhatts zeroed in on him, he is more than happy working in the camp. “I am free to do my thing once a concept has been approved,” Basu says. “Up until Murder, I was feeling my way around a bit. After Gangster, I am far more confident,” he adds.