We are managing without Abhishek: Dutta...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, (IANS) The fact that Abhishek Bachchan has been compelled to postpone his schedule for J.P. Dutta's "Umrao Jaan" in Rajasthan in order to be near his sick father isn't of insurmountable consequence for the director.

"Of course Abhishek's absence has made a difference. He's extremely integral to the shooting. And those who think his role is secondary to Aishwarya (Aishwarya Rai) and therefore less time consuming, don't know what they're talking about."

Maybe the analysts from the outside are comparing Abhishek's role with Farooq Sheikh who played the same in Muzaffar Ali's "Umrao Jaan".

"I haven't seen Muzaffar Ali's version. And I'm tired of saying my characters aren't based on that film but on a script that my father O.P. Dutta wrote 20 years ago.

"According to this version, Abhishek has plenty to do. Yes, we're managing without him. But no time is being wasted. I'm shooting scenes with the rest of the cast - Puru Rajkumar, Suniel Shetty, Ayesha Jhulka, Divya Dutta and Ash. Hopefully, Abhishek will join us soon.

"But he must be with his dad now. Any filmmaker affected by such a setback would very willingly make the necessary adjustments. And we're talking about Amitabh Bachchan. His health concerns every Indian."

The scenes being shot at the moment are centred on Aishwarya. "She's truly the epitome of grace," says JP. "What she's doing to Umrao's part boggles the mind."