Priyanka Dasgupta, Times News Network, India
CAN YOU GAS THE TRUTH?
Aishwarya Bachchan comes up for air post-shaadi. The Bachchan bahu plays an Indian-American in search of her father, a plant manager on duty the night of the Bhopal gas oil leak, in an international project. CT detects the leak.
While Abiarsh are busy with their French honeymooning, their fans back home are already curious about which projects Ash will take on post-wedding. Her earlier commitments include Sarkar II and an untitled Karan Johar film. The latest post on the Internet Movie Database Site has it that Ash will be doing a film based on real-lifeincidents of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Directed and produced by Zachary Coffin the film’s about an Indian-American debutante in search of her father, the plant manager on duty the night of the gas spill disaster. Ash, who is also the executive producer of the film, will play the role of Jasmine Singh. This is Coffin’s debut feature film. He has earlier been an assistant director for a 1998 release –– Simple Gifts.
Talking about the project Coffin said, “I want to make a film that’s as world class as Gandhi. Ash and I had agreed to do this project in December 2004. The script took time to develop and now I’m aiming to start shooting from January 2008. There are schedules in Hollywood and India. There is a huge amount of pre-production work in the film as well.”
Ash, Coffin insists, is perfect for the role. “It’s a very difficult role and there is no other Indian actor who can play it. From the very outset, it was agreed upon that she would act as well as be the executive producer of the film,” says the director. Unlike Provoked’s, Kiranjit Ahluwalia, Ash’s character in the film isn’t based on any one real life character. “The character is fictional but her experiences are based on real issues,” the director explains.
Coffin hopes that the changing dynamics of Ash’s marital status will not change her commitment towards the film, the working title of which is Bhopal Movie. The perception of an actor giving up her career post-wedding is only prevalent in India. In Hollywood, most of the actors are married. Hence, Ash’s changed marital status is a non-issue for me.”
Other members of the cast include Anujam Kher, Irrfan, Shobana, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kumud Mishra and Nagesh Bhonsle. Legendary
theatre personality Habib Tanvir is also doing a cameo in the film. Having directed a play titled Garam Hava, it was only a “blessing” for Coffin to have got Tanvir on board as an advisor too.
When CT got in touch with Irrfan, he said, “The director has taken my consent. Due to legal issues, I’m not supposed to name my character.” Shobana also confirmed the news from Chennai, saying, “It’s been a while since I acted in Hindi films. I have signed this film.”
Tannishtha, on her part, says, “I play a character who suffered
from the tragedy and even after so many years is still fighting for her rights. In a way she is silent in her protest and I find that challenging to portray on screen.”
Though Ash herself was unavailable for comments, her secretary Hari Singh confirmed that she had earlier committed to do this film. “She wll be returning mid-May and then complete Jodha Akbar. That film will need to be completed before the monsoons. Then, she has given commitments to Sarkar Part II and the Karan Johar film. I know about this Bhopal film and artistes and producers must make more and more such films based on real life. Although she had given her consent, I need to check out the revised policies after the wedding.”
Coffin, who is off to the US from Mumbai on Sunday, is coordinating with Ash’s international manager Simone Sheffield for her January dates.