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    Feb 2010


    Default Muzaffar Ali to direct again after 26 years with a film on a tawaif & a prince

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    Muzaffar Ali whose last feature film was the Shabana Azmi-helmed 1986 drama Anjuman on the life of Chikhan weavers in Uttar Pradesh, is now all set to return to his favourite location—the Awadh districts of Uttar Pradesh—for a period film set in 1877.

    It’s a story of a tawaif and a nawab. But it isn’t a sequel to Umrao Jaan, as reported widely.

    Reveals the filmmaker, “It’s an original story from my own imagination, and not based on any literary work. All the characters are people I’m familiar with. It’s a film that will describe the journey of the people of Awadh during 150 years. It’d be a film on how the British played on the Indian mind and how the Indian mind responded to the Britishers’ provocation. I’ve seen major chapters in the history of Awadh first-hand. Besides a filmmaker I’ve also been a politician. I’ve seen the demolition of the Babri Masjid. I know Awadh organically.”

    Muzaffar Saab has finished the scripting and would begin casting soon.

    Muzaffar Saab rubbishes reports of an Umrao Jaan sequel, “My new film does have a courtesan and the prince at its helm. But it isn’t Umrao Jaan again. Even if I decide to do Umrao Jaan where is the actress to play the part? Just by pouting into the camera you can’t become a legend.”

    The funding for Muzaffar Saab’s nw film is likely to come from outside the Hindi film industry. “I have never really bothered with the travails of Bollywood. My cinematic concern remains the people and problems of Awadh. Bollywood was just a way of expressing myself. After my first film Gaman I madeAgaman and Anjuman about the sugarcane industry and chikhan weavers in Uttar Pradesh. Just the dubbing and mixing were done in Mumbai.

    And even when I was in Mumbai I mixed with only my own crew.”

    The new Muzaffar Ali film would be made on an international scale in Urdu, Hindi and English. “It’s time we looked at ourselves as global players. We don’t want to go into the global arena and cut a sorry figure. We need to go with a product that is comparable with world cinema,” says the Umrao Jaan director, promising a global epic next.



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