Picking themes close to reality

Picking themes close to reality


STICKING TO FACTS: Gulbahar Singh explaining a scene to Hema Malini.

Twelve years after the gruesome Uphaar cinema fire tragedy, an award-winning director has decided to make a full-length feature film that will portray a love story with as its backdrop the gross official negligence that leads to such incidents.

Tentatively titled June 13 — that is the date in 1997 when 59 filmgoers watching J P Dutta’s war film Border had burnt to death — the film will be directed by Gulbahar Singh, who has earlier won the National Award for the Best Children’s Film for Goal starring Irfan Khan.

“It will be a fictional story but with a backdrop of facts. Along with the love story, the fight for justice by the families of those who perished in the tragedy will also feature in the film,” Singh says.

The idea, Singh says, has been with him for a long period, but it took him time to develop the storyline because of the sensitivities involved. “The main theme of the film will be negligence, the kind which leads to tragedies like this one or the ones in which people die falling into open manholes during Monsoon in one city or another,” says Singh.

“It is about how we, the common people, are left unsafe because of some people’s negligence of their responsibilities,” says the director, who plans to start the shooting around November so that it is ready for release next year.

Scindia film: The director, who has also made the critically-acclaimed Dattak, is on the verge of completing his biopic on the late Vijayaraje Scindia of the Gwalior royal family, starring Hema Malini in the title role and Vinod Khanna as her husband, the late Jiwajirao Scindia.

Titled Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi, it is based on the late Scindia’s biography Rajpath Se Lokpath Tak by Mridula Sinha. Says Singh, “We have focused more on the human being that she was than the politician she was, without exaggerating anything and sticking to the facts.”

The sensitive issue of differences between the “Rajmata” and her son Madhavrao (played by upcoming actor Rajesh Shingarpur) quite obviously finds place in the film. “The politics is in the background as I have focused on her life, including the ideological differences between the mother and the son that drove them apart,” says Singh.

The film, produced by the Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Smriti Nyas, is expected to be released in September. Singh says while the late leader’s daughter and BJP MP Yashodhara Raje has helped the film a lot as one closely associated with the trust, he has also spoken to the late Madhavrao Scindia’s son and Union minister Jyotiraditya on the project.

“We have kept the film completely apolitical, so much so that we have even avoided showing party flags even though the characters themselves were highly political,” says Singh, who has earlier made a six-part tele-series on noted writer Munshi Premchand with Irfan Khan in the title role.

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