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Will Neerja director’s next jeopardise Shyam Benegal’s plan to make a movie on Carmen?

While Ram Madhvani is keen on starting the project as soon as possible, Benegal has already begun work on it

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Will Neerja director’s next jeopardise Shyam Benegal’s plan to make a movie on Carmen?
Shyam Benegal couldn’t be very pleased with the news which Spotboye reported yesterday, about the Neerja director, Ram Madhvani, approaching Aishwarya Rai to play the part of Penoza, based on the legendary character of Carmen (Kajol-ditched Neerja director knocks Aishwarya's door. Again!, May 10th).

Carmen originally is a French opera by Bizet, which has been adapted into quite a few versions over the decades in world cinema. Madhvani’s take is reportedly a remake of a Dutch TV series.

But where does that leave Benegal’s take on Carmen, for which A.R. Rahman has already composed some tunes? Another question is whether it is ethically right for Madhvani to go into an area which has been Benegal’s long nurtured project?

In fact, Sanjay Gupta was to produce Benegal’s film with Priyanka Chopra playing the lead in the  Indian adaptation of Carmen. When that bit of casting did not work out, Urmila Matondkar was being considered.

Image Source: Manav Manglani/ alchetron

After over a year, the project didn’t come through, since Benegal and Gupta didn’t find themselves on the same page.

Finally, Vidya Balan was firmed by Benegal and they had several script discussions. After her marriage to Siddharth Roy Kapur and a line-up of hits including The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012), shockingly Balan dropped out, leaving the veteran filmmaker, Benegal, disillusioned with the ways of Bollywood stars.

Image Source: Manav Manglani 

Madhwani seems to have faced casting problems too. Kajol dropped out from his Carmen spin-off. Now Madhwani’s prime choice, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, has to give her go-ahead.

What can we do but wonder – whether Indian audiences will ever get to experience the magic of  Carmen, the legendary woman of substance and steel?

Thumbnail Image Source: veethi/ bharatstudent
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