Bhatt, Chopra turn bold with a vengeance...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, (IANS) Mahesh Bhatt and Yashraj Films are set to clash at the box office with two sizzlers this week, but it is an Amitabh Bachchan-starrer that might turn out to be the dark horse.

"Neal 'N' Nikki" has splashed 'cool' posters and images of Yash Chopra's son Uday Chopra and Tanuja's younger daughter Tanisha Mukerji peeping tantalisingly from under sheets.

The Yashraj banner is all set to further multiply on its 'bold' image acquired from their last release "Salaam Namaste" which dealt with a live-in relationship.

But "Neal 'N' Nikki" director Arjun Sablok seems quite alarmed at the film's reputation of 21 kisses and other torrid happenings.

"This isn't that kind of a film. And the comparisons with 'Kalyug', which a section of the press is making, are quite inappropriate. Maybe youngsters will get turned on by 'Kalyug' and then come and watch my film."

On the other hand Bhatt is very sure of his film, "Kalyug", based on the true incident of a young honeymooning couple who were filmed by a secret video camera for the porno market.

Says Bhatt: "I think the entire crew has done a good job...sorry...I'd like to go further and say they've done a brilliant job.

"As producer I feel like Javed Miandad facing the last ball in the historic Sharjah match. If I hit bull's eye I'll create history. It's my protégé, Kunal Khemu, versus the giants (Yash Chopra in 'Neal 'N' Nikki' and Amitabh Bachchan in 'Ek Ajnabee')."

Incidentally, Kunal Khemu starred as a child actor in Bhatt's films "Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke" and "Zakhm".

Fobbing off all comparisons with the other sizzler of the week, Bhatt says: "Comparing our 'Kalyug' with 'Neal 'N' Nikki' is like comparing oranges and apples.

"Their film has an urban up-market base. We've pitched our film at middle class India. Our key characters are ordinary people. Let's see what happens."

But the dark horse of the week is second-time director Apoorva Lakhia's "Ek Ajnabee", which features the mightier-than-ever Amitabh Bachchan in the central role.