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Invoking Jai Santoshi Maa , once more

Shailendra Singh is all set to produce another movie on the Indian Goddess, which will be titled Maa Santoshi Maa.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 15:12 IST
HT Style

Over thirty years ago, Jai Santoshi Maa broke box-office records created by Yash Chopra-directed Deewar, which released a few months earlier. This year, Shailendra Singh, head of Percept Picture Company is pitching his next venture, Maa Santoshi Maa for a Diwali release, pitting it directly against Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom-2.

The film will be directed by Ahmed Siddiqui, Chopra’s erstwhile chief assistant director. It is a remake of Jai Santoshi Maa, whose rights PPC bought from producer Satram Rohara.                                                                  

         Shailendra Singh

 Shailendra Singh, joint managing director, Percept Holdings said, “We agreed to whatever price Mr Rohara asked.

There can be no negotiations on a fantastic film like this.” In the year it released, Jai Santoshi Maa had broken all box office records, even those created by the superhits of the time like Sholay and Deewar.

Asked if PPC was on a religious trip post the success of Hanuman, Singh said, “For us at PPC it’s very important to meet the needs of the consumer, by giving them a good quality product.

In the USA, there are about 170 channels on religion and spirituality, and the number of such channels is growing here too. Hanuman was more about animation. Similarly, Maa Santoshi Maa is a very human story.” Asked if the change in the title was influenced by numerology, he answered, “Yes, partly. Besides we thought the new name would give the idea that there’s a lot of newness to the subject.

The basic story will remain the same, but we’ve changed situations and characters for today’s times.” Dismissing rumours that Hema Malini has been approached to play Goddess Santoshi, Singh said, “As of now, we haven’t spoken to Hemaji. We’re still working on the character sketches and will cast whoever best suits the roles.”

The character of Satyavati will be played by Vedhika Kumar, who has done films down south like Maderasi (Tamil) and Sivakasi  (Telugu).

“Vedhika fitted the character perfectly. We’ll finalise the rest of the cast soon.” He added the Jai jai Santoshi Maa bhajan will be retained, but recreated with contemporary sound. “Anu Malik will compose the music for our film,” he says.

About the choice of di rector, Singh says, “Ahmed has been with Yash Raj Films for a long time now. He is the right person to make a film that will connect to the audiences.” Gung-ho about releasing his film this Diwali, Singh says, “We will release Maa Santoshi Maa with Dhoom-2 and let the audience decide.”