Riteish Deshmukh to play Aladdin
Riteish Deshmukh is all geared up to play Aladdin in Sujoy Ghosh's Aladdin & the Mystery Of The Lamp, with Amitabh Bachchan as his genie.
The actor is somewhat shy talking about this project.
"I don't know what plans Sujoy and (producer) Rohan Sippy have about my looks. It could be totally Arabian or it might be somewhat contemporary. But it's an exciting prospect any which way," Riteish told IANS.
"It has always been a childhood fantasy to have my own genie to make my wishes come true. And what better wish-fulfilment than Amitabh as a genie?"
What truly delighted Riteish was the director's determination to sign the actor?
"Sujoy told me I was his first and only choice to play Aladdin. That made me happy. It's not often than one gets a chance to be in a huge fantasy like this, and that too with Amitabh as your co-star."
Earlier, Riteish shared screen space with the legendary actor for a segment of Ram Gopal Varma's Darna Zaroori Hai.
"But that was just a two-day shoot. And Amitabh scared the hell out of me playing that eerie character. I think Alladin is the ultimate fun fantasy and the ideal vehicle to share with India's biggest superstar."
So excited is Riteish about his preparation for Alladin that he has decided to dodge all new offers for now.
"I do have my friend Sajid Khan's Hey Baby. But that's it. I want to focus completely on Aladdin. It's exciting to be in a children's fantasy. Until lately Bollywood had completely ceased making films for younger audiences. Now we seem to have revived that old young feeling."
Incidentally, Riteish isn't the first Bollywood actor to don an Arabian Nights avatar.
Dharmendra played Alibaba in Umesh Mehra's Alibaba Aur Chalis Chor, Amitabh was an arabesque do-gooder in Shashi Kapoor's Ajooba, Dharmendra and Jeetendra were dressed as Roman gladiators in Manmohan Desai's Dharam Veer.
The question is would a costume drama work in this day and age?