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'Umrao Jaan is commercial cinema'

The actress says the new version is a complete departure from Muzaffar Ali's version. Umrao Jaan is no remake: JP Dutta

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 15:11 IST

Veteran Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi says her forthcoming movie

Umrao Jan

is a mainstream Hindi movie, unlike the artistic version made 25 years ago.

"It is an entertaining film, a complete departure from Muzaffar Ali's version," Azmi says. Azmi is playing a role that her mother, Shaukat Azmi, performed in the classic version.

Muzaffar Ali won numerous awards in 1980s for Umrao Jaan, which has become a classic of Bollywood cinema and was a major hit despite being highly artistic.

Director JP Datta is shooting the film in Jaipur and dusty villages around Lucknow. It is likely to be released later this year.

"Ammi (mother) gave me tips on everything from costume to diction. I hope I am able to do justice to the role," she said. Azmi said it was probably the first time in India that a daughter has been cast in the same role played by her mother in an earlier version of the same movie.

The film tells the story of a courtesan named Ameeran, or Umrao Jaan Ada, who was kidnapped from her home and sold into a brothel filled with dancing girls in the old Indian kingdom of Oudh, centered around the modern city of Lucknow.

Aishwarya Rai plays the key role of Umrao Jaan alongside Abhishek Bachchan, Shabana Azmi and Sunil Shetty.