We'll be screening 'Sarkar Raj' for Bal Thackeray: Varma

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Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) Director Ram Gopal Varma, who is in Bangkok for the premiere of his "Sarkar Raj" at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, is puzzled by reports back home that he refused to screen the film for the politically powerful Thackerays.

"That's totally untrue. We had the first and so far only screening of the film on Sunday for those closely associated with 'Sarkar Raj'. We'd have loved to have Bala Saheb come for the show. Unfortunately his health didn't permit him to make that visit. We're now arranging a screening in Bala Saheb's home," Varma told IANS from Bangkok.

The special screening for Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray would be scheduled for any time after Varma and the Bachchans return from Bangkok.

"Sarkar Raj", a sequel to Varma's "Sarkar", stars Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan.

Incidentally, the IIFA extravaganza is the first ever film awards ceremony the director is attending, but he insists that he won't hang around for long.

"It's true that I don't attend film awards. Never have, never will again. I'm here at Bangkok only for the premiere of my 'Sarkar Raj'. Let me make it very clear that I'm not going to attend the awards part of the event at all. Actually, given a choice, I wouldn't come. But my film is being premiered and it would look odd if I am not here."

What does he feel about the unexpected stunner "Aamir" that has crept out of nowhere to claim eyeballs on the same Friday as "Sarkar Raj"?

Said Varma: "Quite honestly I haven't seen any of the promos of 'Aamir'. If, as you say, it's similar in intention and mood then all I can say is I wish the film all the luck.

"I don't know why so much expectation is being built around 'Sarkar Raj'. I've worked as hard on this film as I've on any other. 'Sarkar Raj' will sell on its own merit. No film runs for the hype or the stars."

"Sarkar Raj" had a 'green carpet' premiere at Bangkok's Paragon Cineplex Friday evening that was attended by the Bachchans and many other celebrities including Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, David Dhawan, veteran actress Mumtaz, Randhir and Rajeev Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh.

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