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West beckons Bollywood talent

Be it Aadesh Shrivastava recording the duet King & Queen with Shakira or John Abraham's pairing with American actress Rachel Weisz, Bollywood talent is forming a creamy layer in the West.
By Subhash K Jha | IANS, Mumbai
UPDATED ON AUG 15, 2007 01:38 PM IST

Bollywood talent seems to be carving a niche in the west. Composer Aadesh Shrivastava will record the duet King & Queen with Shakira, Santosh Sivan has received an offer to direct a movie based on Michael Ondantjee's latest novel and Salman Khan is playing the lead role in US-based director Willard Carroll's Marigold.

The list doesn't end here. John Abraham is paired with American actress Rachel Weisz in Deepa Mehta's Luna and Vishal Bharadwaj is in talks with Hollywood actress Uma Thurman to play the lead in a World War II epic.

Confirming the news, Bharadwaj told IANS: "Yes, Uma is in negotiation. The film will have other big actors from outside India.

"Blood Brothers, my short film on AIDS, is written by Matthew Robbins, who works with Steven Spielberg. It's time we in Mumbai stopped thinking only of NRI audiences."

Composer Shrivastava, currently in collaboration with American rapper Wyclef Jean for a fusion album, will now record a song with Shakira.

Speaking from New York Shrivastava said: "The track is ready. And it's called King & Queen. Wyclef and Shakira will do the prime vocals while I'll contribute alaaps and other raga-classical intonations right across the track."

Lately, a lot of American singers, especially rappers, have been adapting a lot of Bollywood music.

However, King & Queen will be the first track where an Indian composer-singer will be part of an original composition with two American pop artistes.

Earlier, Asha Bhosle collaborated with US singer Boy George and more recently with the US jazz quartet Kronos Quartet for a remix of R.D. Burman's songs.

For two years, ace cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan has secretly been in dialogue with Booker-winning author Michael Ondaatje, of The English Patient fame, for turning his last work of fiction Anil's Ghost to celluloid.

"It's true. But Anil's Ghost is a difficult book to condense into two hours on celluloid, especially since Michael is possessive about every passage. Let's see," said Sivan.

Sushmita Sen is also in talks with a prominent international filmmaker to direct her highly ambitious project Jhansi Ki Rani.

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