'Omkara' needs breathing space: Vishal Bharadwaj ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, July 6 (IANS) Vishal Bharadwaj is racing to make sure that "Omkara" releases on schedule on July 28 and is taking unprecedented steps to beat the deadline.

"I have to make it into theatres on July 28 at any cost because for two weeks afterwards there are no significant releases until Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'. 'Omkara' is a film that would need time to grow on audiences," Bharadwaj told IANS in an interview.

So, Bharadwaj has taken on three departments of post-production simultaneously.

"That's right," he laughed. "I am orchestrating the dubbing, mixing and background score in three different studios simultaneously. It feels like three different Vishals in three different places...

"I must make it into theatres on July 28. It's not just our deadline. It's also a logical date for 'Omkara' because it needs breathing space."

There's huge anticipation for the film's release the world over. It has a huge star cast - Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Viveik Oberoi and Konkona SenSharma.

"I am quite amazed at the buzz. Is it the stars or is it the theme? Perhaps after 'Maqbool' audiences do feel a certain excitement about watching my films. They want to see what I have done with the stars. Saif, Kareena, Ajay, Bipasha, Viveik and Konkona have never been projected like 'Omkara' before."

The unique film about the criminal mafia in Uttar Pradesh as transposed into Shakespeare's "Othello" has all the ingredients of a typical Hindi film, including item songs by Bipasha.

"My producer Kumar Mangat and I have to justify the film's large benefit. 'Omkara' isn't a small film. It's got the biggest stars doing things that audiences have never seen them do and say."

"Omkara" needs a much larger audience than Bharadwaj's previous Shakespearean adaptation "Maqbool".

"Yes. But you must remember 'Maqbool' made money in the country everywhere. We can't call it a small film by any standard."

Now Bharadwaj tends to veer towards production.

"I am co-producing an anti-cigarette feature film 'No Smoking' with Kumar Mangat again. I am not new to production. Even 'Maqbool', 'Makdee' and my ready-for-release film about kids 'The Blue Umbrella' are co-productions. The proposed film will have an anti-smoking message though in an entertaining way."

Only John Abraham has been finalised for the anti-smoking film. "And he's essentially a non-smoker though he once told me he does smoke once in a while but only when his mother isn't watching."

Kareena has declared that Bharadwaj won't be allowed to make any films without her.

"We have formed a mutual admiration society. She is an extremely honest and unpretentious person. These qualities show up on screen. She is a fantastic actress. In fact, our commercial stars are enormously equipped."

After Aamir Khan's departure from his next project, Bharadwaj has decided not to make "Mr. Singh & Mrs. Mehta" for the time being.

"But I want to do one more Shakespearean adaptation to complete my trilogy."