Dutta's `Umrao Jaan` starts in royal splendour

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 13, 2005 05:47 hrs

Shri Krishna Audio Goregaon… You couldn't miss Aishwarya Rai. Looking slim and radiant she had flown back the night before from her shooting of The Last Legion in Slovakia..straight to the mahurat of J.P.Dutta's much-anticipated Umrao Jaan.

Ms Rai stayed the whole day….chatting laughing and enjoying the attention. She left the place only at 7.30 pm. "It's good to have her as part of our team. She gives out such positive vibes," Mrs Bindiya Dutta was genuinely appreciative of her husband's chosen Umrao.

Throughout the day all eyes were glued on Aishwarya and Shabana who play daughter and mother. "Don't they look like a real-life mother and daughter?" the Movie Moghul could barely contain his pride as he watched the drama of Umrao's life unfold in the eye of his mind.

The turn-out was, to say the least, impressive. Besides Shabana and Ash, the rest of the cast —Suniel Shetty ("I feel so much a part of JP Saab's unit. I'm a host today"), Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutta and Puru Raj Kumar ("He's a very good actor, and he proved it in LOC," JP whispered) …they were all there beaming brightly, looking more like a craggy bunch of weary travellers heading towards a destination in the past.

But where on earth was the film's leading man Abhishek Bachchan? He kept calling and messaging the Duttas from Goa, promising to land in Mumbai before the event was over. By evening it was clear Abhishek wouldn't make it.

"Never mind," JP smiled fondly. "He's my boy. I can feel his presence right now."

An old-world charm clung to the studio …It could've something to do with Anu Malik's song that was being recorded. As Richa Sharma's booming voice rose to a crescendo, the congregation broke into collective goosebumps.

"Javed Saab and Anu Malik have worked really hard. We've already finalized the nine tunes for Umrao. This is the first song," JP whispered.

Anu Malik's daughter Anmol accompanied Richa in the song. The proud father went around introducing his pet loudly. Anmol Malik earlier sang in Biwi No 1. Does Anmol plan to give Alka a run for her moaning? Her voice has matured. Wish we could say the same about her father.

At the end of the day JP looked jubilant but exhausted. "We have to match up to the music of those two other great classics about the tawaif Pakeezah and Muzaffar Ali's Umrao Jaan. We have to make sure that the music isn't reminiscent of those two. But `ghazal to ghazal hi rahega na`?"

If Asha Bhosle was the voice of Umrao in Muzaffar Ali's film, Alka Yagnik will sing for Aishwarya Rai in J.P.Dutta's Umrao Jaan.

The film begins shooting in November. "I've my actors' dates till April. I'll go on shooting for as long as it takes. This is a totally new genre for me. And I feel like a traveler taking an unknown road," sighs JP, as the last guests wish him all the best.

Anu Malik was still telling the world about his `Anmol ratan`.

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