Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pooja Bhatt backs out of Kalpana Lajmi's dream project; Prosenjit to play Bhupen Hazarika

The proposed bio-pic on Assam’s maverick musician the late Bhupen Hazarika, his soul-mate Kalpana Lajmi’s dream project, has found a hero in Prosenjit but lost its producer.
Pooja Bhatt was not only supposed to produce the film, she was also the most probable actor to play Kalpana Lajmi in the bio-pic. For reasons best known to her, Pooja has decided to part ways with the project.
Explaining her decision Pooja says the script for the Hazarika bio-pic was not up to the mark. “My father (Mahesh Bhatt) felt the material that was intended to go into the screenplay was not investment-worthy. He is the creative backbone of the project and I take my creative decisions based on his cues, suggestions and instructions.”
Kalpana Lajmi admits Pooja has backed out of her dream project. “Pooja has decided not to go ahead with this film under her banner. However her father has encouraged me throughout and is creatively involved with the project although Pooja has opted out.”
When asked why Pooja has backed out Kalpana smiled, “No specific reason was given to me. During the journey of a film from inception to completion, such setbacks do happen.”
The filmmaker who has been having trouble putting a project together for the last 7 years says there is no animosity with Pooja. “We’ve parted amicably. I continue to hold Mahesh and Pooja in high esteem. Mahesh is my mentor and his wife Soni Razdan is one of my closest friends,”
Kalpana says she is now hunting for an alternative producer. “Prosenjit has agreed to play Bhupen. But now I need to find another producer. If I’ve found the actor to play Bhupenda I am sure I will find the funds too.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Prosenjit as Bhupen Hazarika in biopic by Kalpana Lajmi

She was 17 and he was 45 when they first met. And now, over four decades after she got to know Bhupen Hazarika, Kalpana Lajmi is ready to make a film on the departed legend. And the big scoop is that Prosenjit Chatterjee will star as Hazarika.

The film, a trilingual project, has been tentatively titled The Tempest in English, Kal Boishakhi in Bengali and Dhumuha in Assamese. "Yes, Prosenjit is playing Bhupen Hazarika. Tell me, who better than him to bring alive Bhupenda's dynamic character on screen? In fact, it was a mutual decision he and I took after he heard I was making this biopic. Bhupenda was a very romantic man and only Prosenjit can bring that alive. He also had a fiery aspect and I'm sure Prosenjit will portray that ably as well. As of now, I don't know who will play my character, but preferably someone from western India," says Lajmi, Hazarika's companion for over 40 years. The Assamese maestro, remembered for his score in films like Rudaali, passed away in November 5, 2011.

 Lajmi says the film will be a biopic seen through the prism of her relationship with Hazarika. "For the whole of 2013, I was collaborating with Sunanda Shymal Mitra as we jotted down my memories. The final script will be readied now," informs Kalpana.

Prosenjit is happy that Lajmi has considered him for the coveted role. "It is a huge honour. Whatever time I am getting, I am reading up on the master," he smiles. The film will be shot in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Assam and New York. "In New York, Bhupenda met Paul Leroy Robeson, who inspired him to write songs that celebrates life. A major portion of the film will also be shot there," Lajmi says.

With Santosh Sivan as the DoP, the film is slated to go on the floors in the second half of the year. "Music will play an important role in the biopic. We will remaster Bhupenda's songs and use them. For the background score I want to rope in Debajyoti Mishra, though I haven't yet spoken to him. He is brilliant," smiled Kalpana.