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As good as it gets

Nana Patekar on his forthcoming films including one he is directing for Varma Corp


AMITABH IS his ultimate hero but he doesn't like him in his second innings; Sanjay Leela Bhansali gave him his "cherished role" in Khamoshi - The Musical but he derides Devdas; he hates violence but has no reservations in playing a violent chieftain in Aanch, his latest film, or brandishing an AK-56 in his forthcoming Ab Tak Chappan. That's Nana Patekar: As sharp, as tart as one could be in an industry where double standards are the norm.

Playing Mahadev bhai in Aanch, Nana says, "The film is based on a real story, in the badlands of U.P. and Bihar, of how the clash of egos of two chieftains ruins the lives of a couple about to be married. My character is inspired by a local Kshatriya mukhiya, Teju Bhai, who sports Reebok shoes with dhoti kurta. The film's highlight is the rustic Banarasi flavour not seen quite often these days. Also, I have rendered an Awadhi folk song Sun Mori for the film."

While Nana feels that problems cannot be solved by the gun, violence is a factor in our lives which is why we find it in our films. "You don't find sad songs in the films any more because in reality you seldom find people brooding over loss, be it love or something else, because people have evolved violent ways to achieve their desires. However, I can't say for others, but I won't show mindless violence in my film. Prahar was all about reality, and my next film Jhuman is a musical. Based on the novel of Marathi writer S.M. Phendse, it subtly portrays the message of communal harmony. Producer Ram Gopal Varma has given me freedom with the budget and I will start shooting in February. I am playing the title role, but the rest of the cast has not been finalised. Shankar, Ehsan, Loy and Suresh Wadekar are working on the music."

Nana is not ready to categorise his film. "If it works, call it commercial. Otherwise, call it experimental. Simple."Essentially a theatre man, Nana says, "It hurts to see a Devdas, type of interpretation of literature. Sharat Chandra must have wept, had he seen Paro and Chandramukhi dancing together."

Playing Daya Nayak in Ab Tak Chappan, Nana seems unconcerned that four films are being made on the encounter specialist of the Mumbai police, and one of them Kagaar has already been released. "See, nobody, is making a real life story on him because it is impossible. All are just inspired by the character." But again isn't encounter, a violent act, proscribed by law? "It is easy to criticise the elimination of rogues so long as they haven't affected your life. In fact, in the film I tell the lawyer whose character is based on a famous advocate of the country fond of fighting cases for terrorists, that I will salute you if you dare to stand for people, who have raped your daughter or killed your son." As acidic as ever.

ANUJ KUMAR

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