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    Feb 2010


    Default Benegal to shoot film on the Indian Constitution

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    Shyam Benegal’s television adaptation of Jawaharlal Nehru’s The Discovery Of India (Bharat Ek Khoj) created and recreated history. Benegal has now taken on another even more daunting challenge. He is all set to film the genesis of the Indian constitution for television in a mini-series that is expected to reach out from its natural habitat, the home viewing medium, to educational institutions across the country and also become the fully-fledged definitive and comprehensive over-view of the Indian constitution for global representations at political summits.

    Benegal admits it’s a daunting a task. “I am seriously working on a mini-series on the making of the Indian constitution. After Bharat Ek Khoj I never even looked at television. But now I felt it was high-time we took a clear and dispassionate look at what the Indian constitution means. It’s an incredible piece of work. Our constitution is a marvel. And we’ve made any amendments in it. It’s an organic mutating document. Each generation has its own imperatives. How well does the Constitution meet those demands of changing times?”

    Benegal would do dramatized version of the constitution. “The Constitution is very dramatic. Look at how it has lived up to the challenge of linguistic religious and cultural diversities. To have a united nation and a homogenous constitution for such a diversity of people and cultures are a miracle.”

    Says Benegal, “My look at the Constitution would have actors, and very prominent ones, enacting the episodes. We need to view the constitution dispassionately because it gives us our identity as Indians, tells us what we are meant to be as a nation.”

    Research work has already started. Atul Tiwari, Shama Zaidi and Benegal are scripting the story of the Constitution.

    Says Benegal, “We’re proceeding apace. We’ve to open up our history without prejudice.”

    Years ago the prolific Shyam Benegal was supposed to direct a film on the life of the father of the Indian constitution Baba Ambedkar. The project for some reasons passed on to Jabbar Patel who wanted Shah Rukh Khan to play Ambedkar. Finally Mamoothy did the role in Patel’s film.

    Benegal may cast one of his regular actors like Rajit Kapoor as Ambedkar or he may go for a new face. “I will cast my old actors but also new actors. India produces actors of extraordinary talent in every generation.”

    Says the director, “I hope my look at the Indian constitution would have the same relevance that Bharat Ek Khoj does 24 years after it was made. I want to project it as a work on renewable history. It’ a great challenge. I took it on myself because I didn’t want just keep making the kind of films I’ve made. I want to go beyond that. I hope to complete it in 8-9 months. It would be an accessible light-mooded work. Viewers are in no mood for darkness. But to escape darkness we need to detach ourselves from the crisis and see where we’ve gone wrong.”



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