Written by Pakistani, directed by Indian - a new romance

February 14th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Ekta KapoorMumbai, Feb 14 (IANS) In the first cinematic director-writer collaboration between India and Pakistan since Raj Kapoor’s “Henna” when RK got Haseena Moin to write the script, Indian television’s foremost music-talent producer Gajendra Singh has decided to direct another India-Pakistan romance.

15 years after “Henna”, Moin (who has penned some of the most enduring teleplays in Pakistan including “Dhoop Kinare” and “Tanhaiyan”) returns to India to write the film “Gulnar” for Singh.

Says the man who has devoted 16 years to scouting, presenting and projecting new musical talent on television, “‘Voice Of India’ on Star TV wraps up in November. And that’s it for now. I need to move on to a new creative level. Directing a film seems the next logical step.”

But before that Singh is producing another feature film this year called “Yaari Motor Company”.

“This is a smaller film about four young migrants to Mumbai and their experiences. It would be a steely gritty film directed by veteran actor Shivaji Satam’s son Abhijeet Satam.”

Anil Kapoor is being cast as the four young protagonists’ mentor.

Singh moves to directing his own film after that the first production.

“A romantic film on India-Pakistan ties is something I’ve wanted to make for many years. Our films have gone into India-Pakistan relations. But none so far that has taken a detached view of the matter. With ‘Gulnar’ I hope to do that.”

As a seasoned music person Singh has been watching the constant flow of talent from Pakistan to India. “But there’s been hardly any flow in the other direction. Even Lataji has not yet performed in Lahore or Karachi. It’s such a shame. The ordinary non-political man in Pakistan craves as much for Lataji and Ashaji’s voice as any Indian. We need to bridge that gap.”

Singh got the idea of making an India-Pakistan film several years ago while recording a television show live in New York.

“It was performed and attended by both Indians and Pakistanis. We had a signature tune ‘Dil dil Pakistan jaan jaan Hindustan’. And the audience roared with equal enthusiasm at both the lines. It was then that I realised how similar the two people were.”

While Singh wraps up “Voice Of India” on Star TV he also has the kids’ special “Chak De Bachche” on channel 9X.

It’s said that the show, like Ekta Kapoor’s “Mahabharat”, has suffered because of the channel’s poor ratings.

Singh jumps to the channel’s defence. “Why blame 9X? Why not take the blame ourselves? When Star Plus got in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ they not only made a success of the channel but also the serials that were telecast before and after the game show. If my ‘Chak De Bachche’ was good enough it would’ve boosted the channel’s viewership, just like ‘Ballika Vadhu’ has done for the other new channel Colors.”

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