Amitabh, Sarika pair up for Sircar's next

Mumbai, Feb 4 (IANS) Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be seen with a different co-star in Shoojit Sircar's untitled film - the talented Sarika. The two are shooting an autumnal love story in the snowy landscape of Shimla and Manali.

Amitabh has reportedly been for some time been somewhat concerned about the absence of suitably strong and charismatic co-stars.

According to a source close to the Big B, "Rekha, he won't act with. He has done enough films with Jaya Bachchan and Jaya Prada. Hema and he were a smashing success in 'Baghban' but a flop in 'Babul'.

"Dimple Kapadia and Sharmila Tagore don't click with Mr. Bachchan. Hence he has lately gone into an experimental mode with co-stars, like Shefali Shah in 'Waqt - Race Against Time', Rani Mukerji in 'Black', Tabu in 'Cheeni Kum' and Preity Zinta in 'The Last Lear'."

After her bravura performance in "Parzania", Sarika is an actress whom the Big B has wanted to pair himself with for some time now.

The opportunity came after Tabu said no to Sircar's film. The pair is kindling unique chemistry in the frozen Shimla and Manali.

At 65, and with two major near-fatal illnesses behind him, Amitabh continues to surprise everyone including himself, with his zest for energy and drive for excellence.

Consider this. All of last week he shot from early morning till dusk for Sircar's film, earlier called "Shoebite". Then in-between he flew to a remote village in Uttar Pradesh for the inauguration of a girls' school named after his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai and rushed back to join the unit in Shimla - all within a week.

The film is about an autumnal couple rekindling their love.

The deeply appreciative Sircar told IANS: "Amit-ji is turning out to be a role model for all of us over here. In Manali and now in Shimla, we're frozen to our bones. Adding to our woes is the fact that all the scenes are being shot outdoors in the snow where most of us can't even see let alone feel anything.

"Amit-ji takes to the camera as though the freezing weather was just a prop. He is the first one to reach the location. He rehearses rigorously in the freezing temperature with Sarika-ji, who plays his wife."

The last time the Big B was in Shimla, it was to shoot a portion of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black". Snowfall had to be recreated in the studio for that film since snow obstructed the camera lenses.

Sircar, of "Yahaan" fame, has no such problems.

"I'm not shooting snowfall. Just capturing these two aging people in the snow. I find the snow very romantic. In fact, I shot my first film 'Yahaan' with Jimmy Shergil and Minissha Lamba in the supposedly forbidden snowscape of Kashmir."

Jimmy also features in Sircar's second film.

"He has a beautiful role. I owe it to him after the way he stood by me during 'Yahaan'. And Diya Mirza plays a beautiful role.

"Also on board are Gulzar saab and Shantanu Moitra, who wrote the lyrics and composed the music for 'Yahaan'. I couldn't make my second film without them."

As for Sarika, the director just can't stop raving about the actress.

"She brings a certain freshness to the film. Amit-ji and Sarika-ji look so much like an abiding couple I wonder why nobody thought of casting them together before."

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