ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Ashvin KumarJohnny Depp may star in Indian flick
21st June 2005  15.14 IST
By Agencies  

If director Ashvin Kumar has his way, Hollywood hunk Johnny Depp could soon be serenading an Indian actress in the backwaters of Kerala.

Fresh after the worldwide success of Little Terrorist , Kumar plans to rope in his favourite actor Depp, known for his Oscar-nominated roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Neverland, for a romantic comedy shot in god's own country.

"I am trying to get Johnny Depp to act in a movie set in Kerala," Kumar told a leading news agency in an interview.

The 30-something director hit the headlines earlier this year when his 15-minute movie Little Terrorist based on the real-life incident of a Pakistani boy straying into Indian territory - was nominated for an Oscar in the live action short films category.

"So far, Little Terrorist has been screened in 63 international film festivals in over 17 countries and has won 10 awards," says Kumar, adding that the Oscar nomination did help him. "It helps ensure the first step - now I know that a-list stars are at least reading my scripts."

Currently, Kumar is busy preparing for The Forest - a bilingual thriller starring Manoj Bajpai and Sandhya Mridul , purportedly the first made-in-India film to be backed by a Hollywood producer.

Starting November, the film will be shot in the Indian jungles of Terai.

The full-length feature will focus on the present-day ecological crisis and is aimed primarily at the international box-office.

Kumar has grand plans for the film's release. "We plan to take it to Cannes in the fall of 2006, and then release it in around 1500 theatres in the US," he says.

Indian fans will get a chance to watch the film but will have to wait a while since Kumar plans to release the film in India only after its US release. But will a film on the environment be financially viable?

"I don't want to make a movie just for the sake of it. If I take two years to make something, it should be something of substance. There is a hidden message in each movie I make," says Kumar.

"Instead of making a wildlife documentary in which nobody would be interested, I wanted to use the film to address concerns about wildlife and deforestation," he adds.

The young director also defends his decision of not going in for saleable Bollywood stars for The Forest.

"I deliberately did not take established Indian stars because they won't make any difference in the US market," he says.

Also in the pipeline for Kumar is a remake of his debut film 'The Road to Ladakh' (2002) about a western woman who comes to India only to fall in love - albeit unknowingly - with a terrorist.

A famous American actress will be essaying the role of the protagonist.

"Talks are still on and I can't reveal the name just yet," says Kumar.

However, those expecting the usual Bollywood caper may well be disappointed as the filmmaker plans to base the film as a sort of metaphor for US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Little Terrorist
Manoj Bajpai

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