Banking on love
The World Bank scandal involving Wolfowitz and his girlfriend, bank employee Shaha Riza could trigger a Bollywood hit, writes V Gangadhar.india Updated: May 22, 2007 04:38 IST
What romance, what passion, what sacrifice” exclaimed the veteran Bollywood producer. “Forget your Laila-Majnu, Romeo-Juliet or Heer-Ranjha. Gosh, the story of Paul and Shaha beats them all. We are now working on the script and the shooting will begin from September.”
“Where did you pick up this legend?” I asked.
“No legend this,” snorted the producer. “What a real life romantic story to touch one’s heart. It is in every newspaper and shown on every TV channel. The great romance of Paul and Shaha.” I shook my head. “I still don’t get it.” “Don’t you read the newspapers” he snapped. “A war hero, and then head of the World Bank, romances and naturally promotes his sweetheart within the Bank. The fuddy-duddies don’t like it, and he just throws away the most prestigious job for the sake of a woman. Here, wipe you eyes,” he offered me a handkerchief.
“O, the Paul Wolfowitz and Shaha Riza story,” I exclaimed. “What a juicy scandal. The World Bank never had such a scandal before. You must be crazy to film this story.” “Man, don’t you have any romance in you?” exclaimed the Bollywood producer. “This story has everything, and I will film it with some changes here and there. Of course, I can’t use the term World Bank, my bank will be named International Bank. My leading man, its president, will be an Indian, who had been a hero on the Kargil front and then appointed to this high post. The girl will have to be foreigner, I have not decided on her nationality. You can help me here.”
“Wolfowitz is accused of corruption and nepotism,” I pointed out. “You can’t have a hero with these negative qualities.”
“That is what you think,” he snapped. “I am focussing on the romance and the final sacrifice of giving up the job. The Indian-International venture will have some sizzling romantic scenes shot around bank counters. My ideal hero appoints Shaha in the International Loans department, I mean, providing loans to poor nations. That is where I propose to do a lot of foreign location shooting, some of the most remote regions in the world where no film producer had ever gone before.”
“What are these?” I wanted to know. “My Paul and Shaha, with their deep commitment to the Third World, travel to Africa where they are captured by cannibals,” went on the producer. “But the cannibals are so poor that they do not have large vessels to boil their victims. Deeply moved by their plight, my hero and heroine sanction them a loan of $ 50 million.”
“Very unusual idea,” I said. “There will be plenty of entertainment too,” went on the producer.
“What type?” I asked.
“My heroine, as the real life Shaha, will be portrayed as an Oxford-Cambridge graduate in Economics,” explained the producer. “Besides being fluent in English, Arabic, French, Italian and Turkish, she is an expert in belly dancing and I propose to have several sizzling belly dance scenes. In fact, her romance begins at a belly dance contest, sponsored by the International Bank.”
“Have you chosen the cast?” I wanted to know. “And how does the movie end?”
“Only Amitabh Bachchan can play the role of Paul Wolfowitz” the producer pointed out. “The film being an international one, we are getting Angelina Jolie for the female lead. As for the happy ending, most probably George Bush will play a guest role.
First Published: May 22, 2007 04:08 IST