It looks like Urmila Matondkar has gone spiritual in a big way. Even while she’s shooting for Pankaj Parasher’s Varanasi with Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah and an arresting ensemble cast in the Holy City, Urmila prepares to plunge into another spiritual film as soon as she returns to Mumbai.
This time it’s celebrated Assamese director Jahnu Barua’s first Hindi film Maine Gandhi Ka Nahon Mara where Urmila will play Anupam Kher’s daughter.
The film is about a man who lives his life believing his life is entwined with Mahatma Gandhi. It is being produced by Kher. It goes on the floors on 27 May.
Says Urmila, “I was in Mr Kher’s debut as a director in Om Jai Jagdish. So when he offered me this film on Jahnu Barua’s behalf there was no way I could say no. It’s an interesting subject with a great deal of emotional velocity in the plot. Now that I’ve finished the thriller Naina for I Dreams, and am in the middle of Varanasi, I needed to go into my next project. Mr Barua’s film seems a good opportunity specially since I get to interact with Anupam.”
After Sanjay Bhansali’s Black, Barua’s film looks like another opportunity to explore an unusual bonding between the lead pair divided by several generations.
Explains producer Anupam Kher, “The last film I produced was Rituparno Ghosh’s Bariwali in Bengali. After that there was neither the funds nor any project that excited me enough. But when Jahnu Barua came with his script, I was enthused. It’s a very powerful script. Some friends agreed to pool in money and we all decided to produce the film.”
Right now Urmila is enjoying her bonding with Dimple Kapadia in Varanasi. “We got to know each other well during another film Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain. Now when we are in alien city we spend almost all our time together. We accompany each other practically everywhere. It’s so rare for two actresses to bond so beautifully. I’ve been lucky. I hit it off well with Shabanaji during Tehzeeb. Now I’ve found another friend in Dimpleji.”
Urmila has had practically no release for a year -and —a- half. “That’s right. My last release was Ek Hasina Thi. It’s about time I was seen in some more films. My next release Naina is a supernatural thriller. I haven’t done anything like it before. Again Varanasi is totally new territory, and so is Mr Barua’s film. For me, the challenge of doing a new film is to go into unexplored territory,” she says from Varanasi where her long schedule ends at the end of the month.