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Rekha, Priyanka in Lajmi's next?

Kalpana Lajmi has approached them for a film on devdasis.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 19:46 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

It could be the most seductive casting coup of the century. Rekha and Priyanka Chopra together in Kalpana Lajmi's next film - the Umrao Jaan of the 1970s and the Umrao Jaan who almost was (remember filmmaker JP Dutta almost signed Priyanka for the role of the neo-Umrao?)

"I have approached Rekha and Priyanka for a film based on the life of devdasis (temple dancers and prostitutes). In principle both have said yes. I am extremely hopeful that this would be my next project after Chingaari, which is complete," Kalpana said.

Kalpana, who has directed Sushmita Sen to a stunning makeover milestone in Chingaari, has her fingers crossed.

"Making a film is still not an easy job for women in this country, especially for someone like me who prefers women-oriented subjects. The male stars shy away from me as though I had the plague. And everyone knows female stars, no matter how huge, do not sell films. Only Hema Malini did that," laughs Kalpana.

Kaplana Lajmi has approached Rekha and Priyanka Chopra for her next film on the life of  devdasis.

"Unfortunately women-oriented films have lost their clout. A stray

Chandni Bar

does well. But my own films,


with Raveena Tandon and


with Kiron Kher, didn't get an audience. I am hoping


will spark off a new phase in my career, and Sushmita's," says the filmmaker who has made award-winning commercially successful films with Shabana Azmi (

Ek Pal

) and Dimple Kapadia (



Kalpana bemoans what she calls the monopoly of a few powerful production houses over the stars.

"The problem isn't restricted to female filmmakers but also to smaller filmmakers. Unfortunately, I fall in both categories of underprivileged filmmakers. I have no access to the really big stars. The big guns want to work with only Yash Chopra, Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and a few others. The others have to make do with the crumbs. This isn't the best way to function in a country where hero-worship is an art form."

But Kalpana is hopeful.

"If my film on devdasis with Rekha and Priyanka and my proposed political drama Singhasan with Aishwarya Rai work out, I can see doors opening for all the female filmmakers."

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 19:46 IST