Vishal racing against time for Omkara

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 06, 2006 11:51 hrs

Currently Vishal Bhardawaj is on a constant edge. "I've to make it into theatres on 28 July at any cost," he says. "Because for two weeks afterwards there're no significant releases until Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna. Omkara is a film that would need time to grow on audiences." Says Vishal. In an unprecedented move Vishal has taken on three departments of post-production simultaneously. "That's right," he laughs wearily. "I'm orchestrating the dubbing, mixing and background score in three different studios simultaneously. It feels like three different Vishals in three different places."

Normally the various aspects of post-production are dealt with concurrently. "I know," explains Vishal. "But like I said I must make it into theatres on 28 July. It's not just our deadline. It's also a logical date for Omkara because it needs breathing space. There's a huge anticipation for the film's release the worldover. "I'm quite amazed at the buzz. Is it the stars or is the theme? Perhaps after Maqbool, audiences do feel a certain excitement about watching my films. They want to see what I've done with the stars. Saif, Kareena, Ajay, Bipasha, Viveik and Konkona have never been projected like Omkara before." The unique film about the criminal mafia in UP as transposed into Shakespeare's Othello, has all the ingredients of a typical Hindi film including item songs by Bipasha Basu. "My producer Kumar Mangat and I have to justify the film's large benefit. Omkara isn't a small film. It's got the biggest stars doing things that audiences have never seen them do and say."

Omkara needs a much larger audience than Vishal's previous Shakespearean adaptation Maqbool. "Yes. But you must remember Maqbool made money in the country everywhere. We can't call it a small film by any standard." Now Vishal tends to veer towards production. "I'm co-producing an anti-cigarette feature film No Smoking with Kumar Mangat again. I'm not new to production. Even Maqbool, Makdee and my ready-for-release film about kids The Blue Umbrella are co-productions. The proposed film will have an anti- smoking message though in an entertaining way." Only John Abraham has been finalized in the cast. "And he's essentially a non-smoker…though he once told me he does smoke once in while but only when his mother isn't watching," Vishal laughs.

Kareena has declared that Vishal won't be allowed to make any films without her. "We've formed a mutual admiration society," laughs Vishal. "she's an extremely honest and unpretentious person. These qualities show up on screen. She's a fantastic actress. In fact our commercial stars are enormously equipped." After Aamir Khan's departure from the project Vishal has decided not to make Mr Singh & Mrs Mehta for the time being. "But I want to do one more Shakespearan adaptation to complete my trilogy."

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