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Dev Anand irks Norah Jones

Ravi Shankar's daughter accused Dev Anand of trying to cash in on their relationship by making a film on them.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:14 IST

This one travelled from India to the UK.

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and his family including Norah Jones, his daughter from Sue Jones, were livid with Dev Anand for making a film on them in English titled "Song of Life". Both feel that he is trying to cash in on their tortured relationship and their reconciliation now that Norah has emerged as a pop star. Now 80, three years younger to Ravi Shankar, Dev Anand is to play the role of the sitar maestro.

Winner of five Grammy Awards for her debut CD Come Away with Me, Norah spoke from Amsterdam to the Telegraph about the film's theme. "I don't like talking about him (Ravi Shankar) because he doesn't have anything to do with me or my music." She feels that the film is exploitative.

"He (Dev Anand) has no idea of our story, and he's not going to represent it in a truthful way, I'm sure. It's sad because it's personal stuff and nobody's business but ours."

She was also unhappy when the host of a Dutch talk show introduced her as Shankar's daughter despite being warned not to by her management. The report said she sang on the show but looked "visibly hurt". Her unhappiness is more because she has made peace with her father and does not want the past to be dug out again for public viewing.

Ravi Shankar had, it is alleged, left her mother to marry his present wife Sukanya. But he reportedly said that Norah's mother "wanted not to be found." Otherwise he used to see Norah once a year until she was 10. The two were united after a decade. She later said: "I'm over everything; I don't resent him. I love my dad, but I don't want him to be given credit for something he didn't do. I grew up with my mum, and he wasn't around."

Sukanya Shankar also, according to the report, revealed that the whole family was opposed to the script. "Nobody knows the inside story about our family except for us, really. It's nobody's business and intrudes on our privacy.

"He (Dev Anand) does not have our permission to produce this film. For now we will just tell the press that this has nothing to do with our story." Her daughter Anoushka is apparently more upset. She said of Dev Anand: "What a jerk!"

But Dev Anand is apparently going ahead with his project. He has reportedly spent several weeks in New York trying to sign up a big Hollywood name, to play the role of 24-year-old Norah. He was said to be originally planning to get Nicole Kidman or Salma Hayek but now he is looking for a younger actress.

It is not known how far the film will delve into Norah's life but the Telegraph says: "From Shankar's nine-year affair with her mother, a New York concert promoter who became a nurse, to Norah's meeting with her half-sister Anoushka, now 21, the action will not provide the usual Bollywood fare".

The two-hour film will feature four songs but no dancing. Dev Anand is quoted saying: "This is a great international subject - a great Indian musician with a daughter who is American, totally American." He maintains that to get permission from the Shankar family will handicap his imagination and that he was "only flattering them by doing the story".

First Published: Dec 26, 2003 21:41 IST