JP?s Umrao Jaan is mainstream
DIRECTOR JP Dutta?s lips may have been sealed while he was here to shoot Umrao Jaan, but Shabana Azmi allowed a peek into the film in the making. ?Unlike Muzaffar Ali?s version, it?s mainstream, not art house cinema,? said the highly acclaimed actress who played a major role in getting recognition and acceptance to art films in India.india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 00:01 IST
DIRECTOR JP Dutta’s lips may have been sealed while he was here to shoot Umrao Jaan, but Shabana Azmi allowed a peek into the film in the making. “Unlike Muzaffar Ali’s version, it’s mainstream, not art house cinema,” said the highly acclaimed actress who played a major role in getting recognition and acceptance to art films in India. “I play in the film the same role of Begum Jahan that my mother played in the Rekha-starrer. Ammi gave me tips on everything from costume to diction and I hope I have pulled it off as well as she did,” said Shabana. She said, Dutta’s film was based on the novel by Rusva and was a “complete departure from Ali’s film.”
The actress is here to take part in the international intellectual meet that highlights the life and contribution of Dr Ram Kumar Verma and her father late Kaifi Azmi.
“I am thoroughly disappointed with the tardy progress in establishing the Kaifi Azmi Urdu Akademi promised by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, but is there anything I can do about it?” she lamented. A front-runner in social activism, she was taken aback by the banning of Aamir Khan’s film in Gujarat. “He never said anything anti-Gujarat or against the people of that State. If the Censor Board has cleared a film, everyone has the right to see it and anybody who has a point against its cast or makers could protest in silence outside the theatre,” she remarked, recalling her brush with opposition when she was shooting for Deepa Mehta’s Water in Varanasi.
“The DM had warned me that shooting could lead to a law and order problem since there were hordes of protestors on the prowl. What we discoveredwas that to control not more than 12 protesters shouting ‘Deepa Mehta murdabad’, there was a team of 100 RPF jawans,” she said, adding that she and Nandita Das walked out of the film so that it could be finally made and picked up by the distributors.
“The book of memoirs penned by my mother has been received extremely well and included in the curriculum of nine universities in the US for its observation of strife-torn times and politics from the viewpoint of a woman. I and Javed Akhtar would be touring the world with a recitation Kaifi Aur Main based on the book,” she said.
Her forthcoming projects include Honeymoon Travels by Zoya and Farhaan Akhtar in which she plays with Boman Irani one of five couples on a honeymoon.