Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)
Srijit Mukherji’s Zulfiqar is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)

My film Zulfiqar is a tribute to The Godfather, says Srijit Mukherji

The National Award-winning director pays tribute to The Godfather through his first film on the underworld; also says it was a conscious decision to split Mark Antony’s character.
By Anindita Acharya | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON SEP 20, 2016 12:47 PM IST

Srijit Mukherji was confined to the hospital bed when he wrote the script of his upcoming Bengali film, Zulfiqar, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedies, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The multiple National Award-winning director admits that Julius Caesar being his favourite play, he has always wanted it to adapt it on the silver screen.

Read: Srijit Mukherji set to bring first Bengali film in 3D with next Kakababu

The director, whose film is set against the backdrop of Kolkata’s underworld, has roped in some of the biggest Tollywood stars such as Prosenjit Chatterjee and Dev in the film. And Srijit has his reasons for showing Kolkata’s dark underbelly in Zulfiqar. “It’s a tribute to The Godfather (1972). This is my first film on underworld and it has to be a tribute to The Godfather,” smiles the Rajkahini director. He also mentions that every time a story idea germinates in his mind, he tries to push the envelope. “Both the plays talk about power and I thought it would be apt to set it in underworld, where power rules supreme. Never has anyone made a Bengali film set against the backdrop of the underworld. I always try to come out of my comfort zone and do something different. This time, I have done the same. Luckily till now, the audience has been with me. They have made six out of my eight films blockbusters. I have always enjoyed both box-office success and critical acclaim which won me National awards. So, who will experiment if not me?” he says.

A still from Zulfiqar.
A still from Zulfiqar.

If there’s one director in Bengali film industry, who has tasted success in the last six years with most of his puja releases, it has to be Srijit. He made a thumping debut with Autograph in 2010, which released during Durga Puja. Since then, he has had a Durga Puja release every year — 22 e Srabon (2011), Mishawr Rahasya (2013), Chatushkone (2014) and Rajkahini (2015). Naturally, the filmmaker knows that he has a loyal fan base that will watch his films during the festive season. However, it wasn’t an easy task to adapt two literary masterpieces of the Bard of Avon on the big screen. He made sure to consult a number of scholars before finalising the script. He even met scholar Shankarlal Bhattacharya, who also gave him a reading list.

Read: Vidya Balan was always my first choice for Begum Jaan: Srijit Mukherji

It isn’t unknown that Julius Caesar has a brief presence in the original text. So, how has he interpreted the character in the film, which has been played by Prosenjit Chatterjee? “Caesar is quite visible in the film. It’s not just about the two Shakespearean plays. There’s a book by Plutarch titled Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, commonly known as Parallel Lives, and I have taken a lot of Caesar’s back story from there. I also extensively read Roman history,” says the Jaatiswar director.

The Godfather, starring Marlon Brando, was based on Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel of the same name. According to Srijit Mukherji, Zulfiqar is a tribute to The Godfather.
The Godfather, starring Marlon Brando, was based on Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel of the same name. According to Srijit Mukherji, Zulfiqar is a tribute to The Godfather.

Srijit, who is also busy with the post production of his debut Bollywood film, a remake of his Bengali film Rajkahini, with Vidya Balan in the lead, has also split the character of Mark Antony, Caesar’s loyal friend and his army’s general, between two actors. “It’s one character but has been played by two people (Parambrata is Tony Braganza and Dev is Markaz Ali). Since I have adapted two plays, there was enough material on Mark Antony. Interestingly, the character traits of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar are different from those in Antony and Cleopatra. So, I felt it would be better if I split the character between two people,” he says.

Read: Srijit Mukherji to adapt two Shakespearean tragedies in one film

Known to be one of the most successful filmmakers in Bengali film industry, the trailer of Srijit’s film has been appreciated by Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter. “I still remember vividly. I was confined to the hospital bed after I met with an auto rickshaw accident in Delhi. I didn’t see the sky for 21 days. A good part of my left leg was missing. So, I was physically and emotionally drained when I started scripting this film. Julius Caesar was the first Shakespearean text I ever read (in class 10). But I have always felt that after Mark Antony’s speech, the play somehow loses its momentum. Antony’s speech (Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears) comes in the fifth or sixth reel in a film. So, I needed a narrative, to hold the story till the end. Suddenly it struck me that the characters of Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar are common. I thought if I could bring all the characters in the same time space then it would get an interesting narrative,” says the director.

So, has he deviated from the text, we ask? “No, it’s only that I have removed 15 years between Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra in terms of the history of Rome,” he says nonchalantly.

Watch the trailer of Zulfiqar:

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Ajay Singh Chaudhary (sourced)
Ajay Singh Chaudhary (sourced)

I will never cease to learn: Ajay Singh Chaudhary

By S Farah Rizvi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 11:58 PM IST
Actor Ajay Singh Chaudhary, who was last seen in the web series ‘Crackdown’, essaying a negative lead is thrilled with the kind of roles he is being offered as of now
Close
Kavita Kaushik had accused Abhinav Shukla 'violent' messages several years ago.
Kavita Kaushik had accused Abhinav Shukla 'violent' messages several years ago.

Rubina has not discussed Kavita’s allegations with Abhinav. Here is why

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 09:57 PM IST
Rubina Dilaik said that she has complete faith in her husband, Abhinav Shukla, and has not discussed with him the allegations made against him by Kavita Kaushik, about sending her 'violent' messages.
Close
Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora and Karisma Kapoor clicked outside Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan's residence.(Varinder Chawla)
Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora and Karisma Kapoor clicked outside Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan's residence.(Varinder Chawla)

Arjun-Malaika and Karisma visit Saif and Kareena's newborn. See photos

UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 09:51 PM IST
  • Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, who welcomed their second son earlier this month, got a visit from Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora and Karisma Kapoor.
Close
Pavitra Punia and Eijaz Khan are lovingly nicknamed 'PaviJaz' by fans.
Pavitra Punia and Eijaz Khan are lovingly nicknamed 'PaviJaz' by fans.

Pavitra slams trolls 'spreading hate' about her relationship with Eijaz

UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 08:56 PM IST
  • Pavitra Punia lashed out at those criticising her relationship with Eijaz Khan and reiterated that they do not need the approval of haters. The couple fell in love during Bigg Boss 14.
Close
Priyanka Chopra was bowled over by Nick Jonas' performance.
Priyanka Chopra was bowled over by Nick Jonas' performance.

Priyanka Chopra gushes over Nick Jonas' performance of This Is Heaven on SNL

UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 08:18 PM IST
Nick Jonas' performance of This Is Heaven on Saturday Night Live drew praise from his wife, Priyanka Chopra. She called it 'one of (her) favourites' from the album Spaceman.
Close
Kangana Ranaut played hostess for the Tejas team.
Kangana Ranaut played hostess for the Tejas team.

Kangana shares a glimpse into her home as she hosts Sunday feast for Tejas team

UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 07:23 PM IST
  • Kangana Ranaut played hostess for the team of Tejas, as they went to her house on Sunday for a meeting. She shared pictures of the get-together, giving fans a glimpse of her home as well.
Close
Prabhas in and as Salaar.
Prabhas in and as Salaar.

Salaar release date out: Prabhas to 'rebel worldwide' in April 2022

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:28 PM IST
Salaar director Prashanth Neel announced the release date of the film, starring Prabhas in the titular role, on Twitter. The film will be out on April 14, 2022.
Close
Aishwarya Rai look-alike Aamna Imran talks about the rise in popularity, her India connection and more.
Aishwarya Rai look-alike Aamna Imran talks about the rise in popularity, her India connection and more.

Aishwarya Rai lookalike Aamna Imran has a secret Indian connection

By Dishya Sharma
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 06:07 PM IST
  • Aamna Imran, dubbed as Aishwarya Rai's doppelgänger, took the internet by storm this weekend with her uncanny resemblance to the Bollywood actor. The Pakistani social media influencer has revealed that she has an Indian connect.
Close
Varun Sharma will soon be seen in Roohi.
Varun Sharma will soon be seen in Roohi.

Kasautii Zindagi Kay played a vital role in Roohi star Varun Sharma's love life

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:52 PM IST
  • Roohi actor Varun Sharma opened up about his love life in a recent interview. He recalled bonding with a girl he liked from school when his mother was busy watching Kasautii Zindagi Kay.
Close
Rubina Dilaik and Abhinav Shukla came together on Bigg Boss 14.
Rubina Dilaik and Abhinav Shukla came together on Bigg Boss 14.

Rubina laughs off Abhinav’s claim that she wanted divorce over a cup of coffee

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:45 PM IST
Rubina Dilaik denied that she and Abhinav Shukla almost got divorced because he forgot to get her coffee. She called it 'one of the many thousand examples that he conveniently said'.
Close
The Trial of Chicago Seven is nominated in Best Drama category.
The Trial of Chicago Seven is nominated in Best Drama category.

Golden Globe 2021 nominees list: Ahead of ceremony, mark your favourites

AFP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:12 PM IST
Golden Globe 2021 are just hours away and here is a list of nominees in all key categories. The ceremony will telecast in India on early Monday morning.
Close
Nick Jonas being grilled by Ego Nwodim as Dionne Warwick.
Nick Jonas being grilled by Ego Nwodim as Dionne Warwick.

Priyanka fans want to know her reaction after raunchy moment with Nick on SNL

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:59 PM IST
Nick Jonas hosted the latest Saturday Night Live episode and was subjected to a rather raunchy moment with Ego Nwodim as Dionne Warwick.
Close
Golden Globes 2021 takes place this weekend.
Golden Globes 2021 takes place this weekend.

Golden Globes 2021: Date, time and where to watch on TV and online

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:10 PM IST
  • The Golden Globes 2021 winners will be announced on February 28 (March 1 in India). Here's what time the 78th Golden Globe Awards will commence and how to watch the show.
Close
Parth Samthaan and Erica Fernandes in Kasautii Zindagii Kay.
Parth Samthaan and Erica Fernandes in Kasautii Zindagii Kay.

Parth Samthaan reveals why he quit Kasautii Zindagii Kay reboot

PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:03 PM IST
  • Parth Samthaan opened up about his decision to quit the popular show, Kasautii Zindagii Kay, last year. He said that it had become repetitive for him after a point.
Close
Anil Kapoor went on to strangle Rahul Bose with a wire and had to be reminded that it was just a shoot.
Anil Kapoor went on to strangle Rahul Bose with a wire and had to be reminded that it was just a shoot.

Anil Kapoor shares the Dil Dhadakne Do scene when he almost killed Rahul Bose

UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 03:54 PM IST
  • Anil Kapoor reveals he had really looked forward to shooting a scene that had him taking a stand for his onscreen daughter, Priyanka Chopra, in the film Dil Dhadakne Do.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP