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So Lear, yet so far

india Updated: Sep 14, 2008 22:46 IST
So Lear

It’s high time they came out with a proper movie adaptation of a Shakespeare play. I must see

The Last Lear

. Is it any good?


Well, I wasn’t there either at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival where it was premiered or at the London and Goa Film Festivals where it was shown, so can’t tell whether Rituparno Ghosh’s first English film is any good or not. But one thing I know is that it’s not based on any Shakespeare play.

What?! Rituparno is then being so misleading!
Not at all. The story is about a veteran thespian...

Oh, how I love the word ‘thespian’!
Ah, yes, a veteran thespian who is in a coma. The film goes into flashback mode telling the story of Harish Mishra, the actor...

You mean the ‘veteran thespian’, right?
Right... played by Amitabh Bachchan, who is at odds with the rest of the crew of the last film he was working on before collapsing.

Ah, so there is a whiff of King Lear in the film...
I guess... senility, long white hair, a young actress who is a daughter-substitute to Mishra.

Yes, that long white mane that Amitabh’s got in the film. Doesn’t that remind you of...
Shahenshah?

No, you twit! I was thinking Ian McKellen in...
You mean McKellen in the Trevor Nunn-directed Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear?

Er, no. McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings.
Um, the hair is a bit crackling on Amitabh, but I believe that was there to compensate for director Rituparno’s new hairless pate look.

So, this is an Indian movie in English?
Yes. And Mishra’s character is mad about Shakespeare, like the late Utpal Dutt, the author of the play on which the film is based. But what’s incredible is that it’s an Indian movie in English that doesn’t have Rahul Bose in it!

Don’t say: Friends, Marathi manoos, countrymen...
Do say: Priety Zinta is such a veteran thespian!