Seasoned wine, veteran actors, a bungalow surrounded by tall trees and authentic Malwani cuisine. Makes for a perfect evening. So what if I had to drive all the way to Juhu, I said to myself, putting up the volume on the car stereo! For good buddy Suchetan Pradhan it’s ok, even on a week day.
Especially when he’s hosting a party for Oscar Laureate Director Bruce Beresford who popped into India with producer Krishna Shah of ‘Shalimar’ fame. They are in the most exciting phase of planning the locations, doing recce’s and the most exciting part being the finalizing of the cast for the making of ‘Birth of a Nation’. A biopic based on the dramatic elements of India’s most famous and controversial Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi promises to be a film in the genre of ‘Gandhi’ that was directed by Richard Attenborough.
‘Birth Of A Nation’ focuses on the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. It is a heroic film, the hero being Indira-jee, and the movie will take us through a journey illustrating her nerve in defying the Richard Nixon administration and Chinese leadership in order to help East Pakistan break away from West Pakistan and emerge as Bangladesh under Mujibur Rahman.
Actors, casting directors, social entities, star filmmakers, and a fair number of actors who are in the evening of their careers thronged the party – it was amusing to watch Bruce famed for his ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ wooed by the yesteryear actresses who wouldn’t leave his side and wanted to be in every photograph with him! Wooing him for a role?
For me the most fascinating part of the evening was the mini-film that Krishna and Bruce showcased through the cocktails . The film uses modern technology to morph several well known Hollywood and Bollywood actors as Indian politicians. This was done to illustrate what Beresford had carefully planned with Krishna to indicate whom he was thinking of, for which role. The scene stealer was ofcourse Shah Rukh Khan whose face was shown morphing into that of Jawaharlal Nehru. It sounded like Bruce was keen that SRK reprise the role of Nehru. Charlize Theron is also to be part of the movie.
Kabir Bedi, Gulshan Grover, Jackie Shroff, Krishna Shah’s heroine of Shalimar fame- Zeenat Aman, Poonam Dhillon, Neena Gupta, Soni Razdan, Deepa Sahi, Rohini Hattangadi, Kalpana Lazmi, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Prateik Babbar, Ketan Mehta, and Sanjay Chhel all stayed through the evening and had a great time in the company of Hollywood’s Bruce Beresford; Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner (the husband wife agent duo who handle the likes of Tom Cruise), Krishna Shan, Suchetan Pradhan and me managed to stay to the last and I left with a feeling of anticipation – why did I have to wait so long for the movie to actually reach completion?