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    Kal Ho Na Ho
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    Aug 2008


    Default Sonam & abhi At New York Delhi6 Premier

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    The early script draft of Delhi-6 had Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) become a victim of a fatal misunderstanding and his death, ironically, stops the Hindus and Muslims in Old Delhi from a killing rampage.

    But in the movie, the ending is anything but sad.

    Writer-director Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra disclosed at the post-screening discussion following the world premiere of Delhi-6 in New York that while the original ending would have sent out a powerful message, he thought it would be wise to give the film a happy ending.

    There is too much of turmoil around, and a happy ending, he felt, was like dressing up a wound and hence very appropriate for our times.[/FONT][/SIZE]

    The New York premiere was held on Sunday at the Museum of Modern Arts, and was attended by producer Ronnie Screwvala, Mehra, cowriter and lyricist Prasoon Joshi, Sonam and Abhishek. Mira Nair, whose The Namesake was produced by Screwvala, was a guest and was introduced to the audience by Abhishek.

    He also singled out Abhay Deol whose recent film Dev D was also produced by Screwvala's UTV. Composer Adesh Srivatsava, who happened to be New York over the weekend, also attended the event.

    The film's composer A R Rahman could not get away from Los Angeles where he was rehearsing two of his Oscar nominated songs from Slumdog Millionaire, which will be staged next week during the 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony.

    Abhishek also said February 15 was an auspicious day. Earlier in the day, he had received a text message from his father Amitabh Bachchan (who makes a fleeting appearance in Delhi-6) recalling the release of his own debut film on the same date 40 years ago.

    Abhishek confessed he liked the original ending in Delhi-6 but P S Bharthi -- the film's editor and Mehra's wife -- convinced him, with some help from Rishi Kapoor, that a happy ending was better.

    Rishi Kapoor plays another interesting character in the film as a man who has learned a lesson or two from losing his beloved to someone else.

    The original concept of Roshan dying amidst the impending communal flare-up would have had a powerful impact but it would not have embodied the healing touch the film offers now, Abhishek said.

    The movie has over a dozen hilarious scenes which serve as powerful comments on religious hypocrisy, political corruption, harmful family values, casteism, communal tension and the exploitation of trivial issues for communal gains.

    Abhishek himself gets to do many comical scenes, and the moderator at the post premiere discussion held at Museum of Modern Art in New York pointed out that the performance reminded him of some of the best works of Cary Grant, who had a terrific sense of comic timing.

    Among the many things Abhishek found pleasing about the film's screenplay was the depiction of young people, especially Roshan, who returns to India, thinking that he will leave behind his grandmother (Waheeda Rehman) who wants to send her dying days in India, and then go back to America.

    During the various stages of drafting the script, there was a concern whether it was right 'to litter the narrative' with comical episodes, Abhishek said. The consensus was 'if we made a serious, dramatic film, it would be a preachy film.'

    Mehra commended Abhishek's enthusiasm for the film though he had just about six short lines of dialogue before the intermission and his character gets badly beaten up at the end, Abhishek was brave enough to take up the film.

    "It (what Abhishek's character undergoes) is the most difficult thing for an actor," Mehra said, adding that in the Hindi movie industry, the leading men get a lot of dialogue, and they win the physical fight.

    [FONT="Verdana"][SIZE="2"]Mehra recalled how Prasoon Joshi helped him shape a few characters and give the film depth by making the script stronger. Rahman suggested the scene showing the pigeon (in the Maaskali song) sitting on Abhishek's hand, thus providing an unforgettable image.

    "This is not a plot-oriented film," Mehra said. "I did not have to go from A to B to C." The leading character in the movie (Roshan) did not have to steal Kohinoor from the Tower of London or do anything as dramatic, he said.

    Instead, the film showed Old Delhi as a microcosm of India with its accomplishments, tremendous warmth and warts, too.

    Joshi said, answering yet another question from a member of the audience that the film was not about non-resident Indians (like Roshan) going back to India. The leading character was made an NRI because as an outsider, he gets to see a lot of things which other Indians took for granted.

    The character of Roshan has a heightened sense of the reality around him. In the final reckoning, it was not important whether Roshan stayed back in India (as he does in the movie) or went back, he said. "What was important is the inner journey his character undergoes," he asserted,

    Sonam who spoke briefly before the movie was shown said it was a film made with a heart and sent out the message that love was the biggest healer



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