Who will play Jessica Lal in 'Aamir' director's film?

By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, April 8 (IANS) "Aamir" director Rajkumar Gupta's next film is based on the sensational Jessica Lal murder and he approached Kareena Kapoor to play one of the two protagonists. But so far he hasn't been able to finalise anyone for the lead roles in "No One Killed Jessica".

"I did approach Kareena Kapoor initially to play one of the two protagonists. But nothing more can be said about the casting right now," Gupta told IANS.

Jessica Lal was gunned down in a New Delhi restaurant in April 1999. Manu Sharma, son of a former minister, is serving a life term for killing her.

"All I can say at this moment is that the film and its script which I've just completed is inspired by a headline that I saw in the Times Of India in 2006 which said, 'No One Killed Jessica' (when all the accused in the sensational case were acquitted). It immediately set me thinking. Over the years, as the case dragged on, that headline acquired immense ironical overtones," he added

"No One Killed Jessica" will need two leading female performers - one will play Jessica and the other will be cast as her sister Sabrina who fought for justice on Jessica's behalf.

The director, whose edgy hard-hitting drama "Aamir" earned rave reviews in 2007, intends to give the same gritty treatment to his second film as well.

Apart from "No One Killed Jessica", Gupta had also written the script of recently released "Barah Aana".

Though Gupta is all for the way first time director Raja Menon had directed his script, he admits he would have filmed the script differently.

"I'd have made 'Barah Aana' edgier, more gritty and fast-paced. That's the treatment I had envisaged for the screenplay.

"Also, it isn't clear in the film why Naseeruddin Shah's character doesn't speak. He just looks angry. The fact is the character has nothing more to say to the world. This aspect doesn't come across in the film," Gupta said.

Gupta also feels that Arjun Mathur is miscast as a Bihari waiter in "Barah Aana".

"I'd have cast someone like Deepak Dobriyal. But that's neither here nor there. 'Barah Aana' is fine the way it is," he said.

Would Gupta write more scripts for other directors?

"I don't know. 'Barah Aana' was a commitment from before I directed 'Aamir'. Right now my concentration is on casting for 'No One Killed Jessica'. I just hope I don't end up casting whoever is available. I need two very strong young actresses."

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