Naseer in Anurag Kashyap’s Michael | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Naseer in Anurag Kashyap’s Michael

Cop story inspired by Cat Stevens’ song, Father and son…, Kolkata and director’s relationship with his father.

bollywood Updated: Feb 25, 2011 13:56 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Debutant director Ribhu Dasgupta wove a story around a senior cop who is falsely convicted, the vicious political circle he is sucked into and the emotional relationship between his son and him. Having assisted Anurag Kashyap on Gulaal, Dasgupta took the script to him, and was pleasantly surprised when told, “Let’s do the film together.”

The writer-director has just wrapped up his first film, Michael, which is being produced by Kashyap and has Naseeruddin Shah in the title role. “It was such a thrill to get the nod from Naseer sir. Anurag and I went to him with the script and fortunately he liked it,” reminisces Dasgupta, pointing out that the veteran actor has worked with plenty of first-time directors.

The film was shot entirely in Kolkata over a period of about 40 days. “We shot extensively on roads and real locations, and it was tough because everywhere we went, Naseer sir was mobbed,” admits the director.

Kolkata connect
The story is partially inspired by the City of Joy, the Cat Stevens song, Father & son… and Dasgupta’s own relationship with his baba (father). It stars Purab Bhandare, the child protagonist of Santosh Sivan’s Tahaan (2008), in the role of Shah’s young son. Mahi Gill is the female lead. “It’s a full-length Hindi feature film. We’re calling it Michael because that’s the cop’s name,” reasons Dasgupta. “It will have songs too, but they will play in the background.”

On a song
Father and son… was originally written by British artiste Cat Stevens for a musical project with actor Nigel Hawthorne called Revolussia. But a bout of TB and a year’s recuperation nixed the plan. The song finally appeared in Stevens’ 1970 album Tea For The Tillerman.

Two years later, Sandie Shaw released a version of it and then in 1974, Jimmy Cash sang another version, Father And Daughter, with his stepdaughter. In 2003, Cash revisited it with Fiona Apple in the album Unearthed.

In 2007, Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, rerecorded the song in his Cafe Sessions with Alun Davies and a small band playing acoustic instruments.

Irish actor Colm Wilkinson released a cover that was a duet with his son Aaron. Rod Stewart included a take on it in the album Still The Same.. Great Rock Classics Of Our Time. British group The Enemy and the cast of the series Casi Angeles have also made it their own, and so did Rocky Votolato who included an iTunes-exclusive cover on True Devotion.

Father and Son was the fifth single from Irish boyband, Boyzone in 1995, reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 on the Irish Chart. The cover sold over 610,000 copies and received a Platinum sales status certification. It became the 13th best-selling single of 1995 in UK.

It was also the the first and only single from Irish singer-songwriter Ronan Keating’s compilation, 10 Years Of Hits, featuring guest vocals by Yusuf Islam. The song peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart and Keating donated the profits from it to the Band Aid Trust.