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    Default Baz Lurhmann signs AB for Great Gatsby

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    At 69, Amitabh Bachchan is ready to make his debut in a Hollywood mega-opus directed by Baz Luhrmann who has long professed a fascination with India.

    Luhrmann, acclaimed director of films like Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and also the forgettable Australia, is working on a film adaptation of Scott F. Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby, a richly textured fin-de-siecle or turn of the century novel.

    The book has previously been filmed four times; most memorable was the 1974 adaptation starring Robert Redford as the tragic millionaire Jay Gatsby.

    In Lurhmann's version Leonardo diCaprio who had also starred as Romeo in the director's version of Shakespeare's classic love story, will play Gatsby. Others in the cast include Toby Maguire and Carey Mulligan.

    Amitabh Bachchan plays the small but crucial role of Meyer Wolfsheim, a notorious underworld figure and an associate of Gatsby.

    In the book Wolfsheim is described as a small, flat-nosed Jew. Wolfsheim who famously wore cuff-links made from human molars is a mix of barbarism and refinement, and personifies Fizgerald's view of the hedonistic 1920s, and remains till the end, curiously loyal to Gatsby.

    Sources say that Luhrmann met Amitabh Bachchan last year in February on his trip to India as part of an Indo-Australian goodwill initiative, and they discussed working together.

    Bachchan joins a growing list of colleagues from Mumbai film industry who are now working in prestigious international projects including Om Puri, Naseerudding Shah, Irrfan Khan, Anupam Kher, and most recently Anil Kapoor.

    In the past the star actor had received offers from the West but he desisted from acting in them because they were mostly stereotypical Indian characters unlike Wolfsheim.

    Another, a more deeply personal reason that drove him to accept the offer was that his father, poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, who did his post-doctoral thesis on WB Yeats at Cambridge, was an admirer of Fizgerald's works.



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