Making a beeline for Jr B and the soon to B | india | Hindustan Times
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Making a beeline for Jr B and the soon to B

THE NEWS of the ?Queen to B? shooting with ?AB?s baby? inside the Mehmoodabad palace for JP Dutta?s forthcoming period film, Umrao Jaan, had spread like wild fire. Raja Mehmoodabad was there too, holding fort at a corner of his palatial residence. Not very far from him were Dutta?s crew, working overtime to give shape and substance to yet another depiction on celluloid of the life and times of the famed courtesan of Awadh.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 01:29 IST

THE NEWS of the ‘Queen to B’ shooting with ‘AB’s baby’ inside the Mehmoodabad palace for JP Dutta’s forthcoming period film, Umrao Jaan, had spread like wild fire.

Raja Mehmoodabad was there too, holding fort at a corner of his palatial residence. Not very far from him were Dutta’s crew, working overtime to give shape and substance to yet another depiction on celluloid of the life and times of the famed courtesan of Awadh.

A three-tier security separated the King’s subjects from the stars. But still a motley crowd, unmindful of the gun-toting security guards pressed hard to get inside. Their curiosity was two fold: the shooting stars and the news that they had gone in for ‘getting their stars matched from a astrologer in Bangalore’.

“Please take us inside. I have bunked school just to catch a glimpse of Aishwarya. Is she getting married to Abhishek Bachchan?” Ashoo, a student of United Avadh Inter College here, said.

And when this correspondent expressed his inability to comply with the request, Sarvesh, another student, said, “I will manage my way in, even if it means scaling the palace boundary.”

Many had actually managed to get in. When we finally drove in after the King intervened with the security on our behalf, one could spot several curious onlookers inside as well. Having broken through the outer security cordon they were waiting patiently partly in the hope of dodging the inner cordon and partly hoping for their stars to make a chance appearance.

On both the counts they were disappointed what with Dutta’s men taking no chances. “Nobody is allowed near the stars or the sets. Dutta sahab is very particular about this,” said a member of Dutta’s team requesting anonymity.

One gathered that Shabana Azmi had come and gone on Thursday after playing her part in the film and holding a long discussion with the Raja on various issues.

“Yes, Shabana was here. We had a long discussion together,” Raja Saheb told HT after we finally made our way in and settled in his guest room. A member of his Cabinet was overheard expressing his anguish at the manner in which overzealous security men at the palace entrance were stopping even those who came to see the King. “Today, they have slightly relaxed security,” the source said. But unlike his aide, the Raja himself appeared calm. “I gave them permission to shoot in my palace because the film tells a story about a woman’s struggle and the ancient culture of Awadh,” he said.

Divya Dutta arrived just as Raja Saheb took us around his palace. We were close to the sets of Umrao Jaan. But, that was it.

The Raja and Dutta’s crew requested that we venture no further. The Raja’s wishes were to be obeyed. Once a king, always a king!