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Paheli: Art meets commerce!

23rd June 2005  22.40 IST
By Nitika Desai  

What better blend of art and commerce be there when a National Award winning director makes a movie on an offbeat subject and the topmost stars of Bollywood play the protagonists!

Shah Rukh Khan 's production Paheli is a marriage of artistic sensibilities and commercial constraints. Some critics say that SRK is going "arty" with this film. Others say that Amol Palekar , its director, is coming into mainstream cinema. Perhaps both the opinions are correct.

Palekar, who delights in telling good stories through his films, first read author Vijay Dan Detha's interpretation of this Rajasthani folk tale way back in 1984, and since then he dreamed of adapting the story to celluloid.

And about a year back when Palekar finally did decide to make the movie, he knew that it was only Shahrukh who could do justice to the male protagonist of the story.

"I went to see Shahrukh with the complete script and narrated him the story. He listened very patiently. After I had finished, he smoked a cigarette and asked me if he could also produce this movie besides acting in it," Palekar told reporters earlier at the music launch of Paheli.

Shahrukh says he was completely "flabbergasted" when he heard the story.

"It (the story) is so simple and yet out of ordinary. It has many layers. After I heard the story I was completely absorbed in thoughts like 'How would I play the ghost?', 'How could we create the ambience of a Rajasthani village?'," says Shahrukh.

Paheli tells the story of a lovelorn woman who, abandoned by her husband, falls in love with a ghost who acquires her husband's image. The film has Rani Mukherjee playing the female lead. Amitabh Bachchan makes a cameo appearance as shepherd.

Paheli was shot in a single 47-day schedule. It will release worldwide on June 24.

'Paheli' story-in-pictures
Shah Rukh Khan
Amol Palekar
Rani Mukherjee
Amitabh Bachchan

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