'Akbar-Jodha': Ashu reveals plans

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 29, 2005 05:10 hrs

Now that SWADES has released, Ashutosh Gowariker has started work on his next project. And the new film promises to be bigger - mammoth is the right word - than his earlier flicks LAGAAN and SWADES.

“That's true,” Ashutosh informs me, as we chat over breakfast in a London hotel, “It's a historical. It's based on Emperor Akbar and Jodhabai,” he divulges. Incidentally, the film-maker has registered a number of titles with the Title Registration Committee of a producers' association. “The title might be AKBAR-JODHA,” he states.

Working on a historical is akin to walking on a tightrope. You need to get the facts right before you embark on the principal shooting. “That's true,” he smiles, “Right now, I am working on the script, but would definitely be consulting the historians before I commence filming. You need to get into the skin of each character before you are ready to roll.”

And when will the project take-off? “Well, even if I work 24 x 7 starting today, I wouldn't be able to roll before February next year [smiles]. Jokes apart, the film will take off in 2006, not this year for sure. There's tremendous pre-production work to be done. There's tremendous detailing that will go into this film,” he affirms.

Reportedly, he is in talks with both Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan for the role of Emperor Akbar. “Believe me, nothing is confirmed yet. And I don't want to rush into the project till my paperwork is complete. Not the star cast, not the technical crew, not even the financiers or co-producers have been finalized,” he pronounces.

But there's talk that producer Firoz A. Nadiadwala might co-produce the project. True? “Well, we did discuss the possibility of working together on a film, but nothing is official yet. Right now, my priority is to complete the script. The remaining things will fall into place later,” he discloses.

Will it be aimed at the international audiences? And will it be a bilingual [Hindi-English]? “As of now, I've decided to make it in Hindi. It's definitely not a bilingual. The subject will find tremendous identification in India, than Hollywood. Like, for instance, if the Queen has to request the Emperor, the Hindi cinegoers would accept her pleading and cajoling, but the international audiences would expect the Queen to be more vocal and demanding when it comes to addressing an issue. See the difference. The concept changes that very minute,” he explains.

A historical, with Ashutosh Gowariker in the director's seat - the idea sounds extremely exciting. What say?