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‘Every rags-to-riches Gujarati story is inspired by Dhirubhai’

Producer Shobhana Desai admits her daily soap, Mukti Bandhan, is loosely based on the legendary industrialist’s life.

tv Updated: Nov 28, 2010 13:07 IST
Rachana Dubey
Rachana Dubey
Hindustan Times

It’s the rags-to-riches story of a man, based on Harikishan Mehta’s popular novel Mukti Bandhan,” says producer Shobhana Desai about her daily soap of the same name on Colors. She admits that IM Virani’s life story is similar to Dhirubhai Ambani’s. “He too didn’t get much education, but built up a business empire, which is second to none in India.” Mukti Bandhan is the first show set against a Gujarati background on the channel. The first promo will air tonight.

The story is being adapted for Desai by Vipul Mehta. “I’ve read Harikishanji’s columns in Chitralekha; there would be fights at home to grab the copy first. Many of them have already been turned into daily soaps. I read Mukti Bandhan years ago in Chitralekha and then, grabbed a copy of the novel too. I thought it would make for a great soap because it has the right mix of emotions and characters,” explains Desai.

Mani Ratnam’s Guru (2007) was also said to be inspired by the late industrialist, with Abhishek Bachchan playing the central character. The film was screened for the Ambanis before its release.

Does Desai plan to follow suit? “No,” she says, “The similarity with Dhirubhai’s life ends with the professional growth of the character. There are no personal details since neither me nor my writer know anything about Dhirubhai. Our characters will be nothing like any of their family members. So, why should I host a special screening for the Ambanis?”

Desai has roped in South actor Shiv Subramanian to play IM Virani. “I didn’t want to go with a familiar face and Shiv played the corrupt officer, Lobo, in Kaminey really well,” she reasons.

The show is expected to start soon after Bigg Boss 4 ends in January.

First Published: Nov 28, 2010 13:05 IST