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Book before you leap

Vishal Bhardwaj is still deciding whether his next film will be based on a Ruskin Bond story, Chetan Bhagat’s Two States or a Shakespearean play. Denies approaching Hrithik Roshan for desi Hamlet

bollywood Updated: Feb 05, 2011 00:32 IST
Hiren Kotwani

By the end of this month, Vishal Bhardwaj will decide which film he will make next. The filmmaker, who is currently finishing the post-production of 7 Khoon Maaf, which releases on February 18, is sure that his next film will also be based on a book. What remains to be seen is which of the three books he has short-listed will be made into a film. “There’s another story by Ruskin Bond that I want to make into a movie. And not to forget another work of Shakespeare, whose books have always fascinated me,” reveals the filmmaker who has already decided to direct the screen adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Two States – The Story Of My Marriage, with Shah Rukh Khan.

Bhardwaj, who has made Maqbool (2003) inspired from Macbeth and Omkara (2006) based on Othello, declined to divulge which of the Bard’s works is next. “It’s too early to say anything. I’ll be in a better position to decide my next movie only after the release of 7 Khoon Maaf. I love Shakespeare’s plays, so it could be any one from Romeo And Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet… there are a good number of them,” he smiles. When asked about reports that he plans to cast Hrithik Roshan in his interpretation of Hamlet, the filmmaker clarifies, “Well, Hamlet is an interesting play but I haven’t yet approached Hrithik for it simply because I don’t know what I’ll make next. Once I decide on my next film, I’ll begin working on it.”

If Bhardwaj decides on Bond’s story, it will be his third adaptation of the noted writer’s works. The first Bond book that Bhardwaj made a film on was Blue Umbrella, with Pankaj Kapoor. While making Kaminey (2009), Bhardwaj was so impressed by Bond’s short story, Susanna’s Seven Husbands that he requested the writer to expand it into a novel. “Ruskin sir doesn’t even key his stories on a typewriter, forget a computer. He wrote by hand and sent it to me chapter by chapter, keeping the photocopies for himself,” adds Bhardwaj.

One can’t help but wonder if Bhardwaj felt any compulsion to make 7 Khoon Maaf after Bond wrote the novel, Susanna’s Seven Husbands, at his request. What if he didn’t like the expanded version? The director asserts that he didn’t worry about that because he was keen to make the movie. “I was making the film. I just wanted the detailed characterisations and other nuances as Ruskin sir had envisioned since he has written the story. He’s a fabulous writer, and that’s why I’m thinking of translating yet another of his stories into a movie,” says the filmmaker.