Shyam Benegal experiments with comedy in 'Welcome to Sajjanpur'

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal better known for his thought-provoking unconventional movies with non-commercial actors takes a detour from the genre in light-hearted comedy "Welcome to Sajjanpur" releasing Friday.

A delightful tale, "Welcome to Sajjanpur" is a satirical take on the reality of the contemporary rural India, especially on the government's much-vaunted literacy drive.

Essaying key roles in the movie are actors Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ila Arun, Ravi Kishen and Divya Dutta.

The film releases with two other comedies - Hollywood production house Warner Brothers first Indian venture "Saas Bahu Aur Sensex" and novelist-turned-director Jaideep Varma's much delayed film "Hulla" that had been waiting for completion since 2001.

Like his earlier films, Benegal's "Welcome to…", made at a nominal budget of Rs.120 million, is releasing with around 350 prints worldwide for approximately 550 screens.

Inspired to make the movie on a light man of his own production unit, Benegal had told IANS: "'Welcome to Sajjanpur' is a romantic satire based in a remote part of Madhya Pradesh. It is a satire where we will laugh at ourselves. Sajjanpur is a fictional name given by writer Ashok Mishra, who belongs to that part of India."

The story revolves around a young man who aspires to become a novelist but ends up writing letters and applications for illiterate villagers. His writing skill makes him popular among the villagers and the interesting part of the story is when he tries to manipulate the villagers, taking advantage of his skill.

UTV Motion Pictures that has produced and distributed the film thinks that the movie will stand out to the other two comedies releasing on the same date because of its unique appeal.

"'Welcome to…' has a unique comedy flavour with a message. There is no competition for the movie with the other releases. Other movies have also not been promoted and marketed well like our film. It is definitely to draw audiences as a first choice over the other two over the weekend," Girish Johar, associate vice-president, UTV Motion Pictures told IANS.

Benegal had earlier directed critically acclaimed art house films like "Mandi", "Zubeidaa" and "Sardari Begum".

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