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Now to Hari Om

THIS ZOOLOGY graduate with 10 to 12 years of focus on advertising films now finds expression on celluloid. Director Bharatbala, who gave us music videos with A.R. Rehman in "Vande Mataram", "Jana Gana Mana", "Maa Tujhe Salaam", and the ad film on Indian Army, Be A Soldier released in March on television, has now come with a commercial film for the world audience Hari Om, an Indo-French venture shot in Jaisalmer.

"Hari Om is the story of a French couple who visit India to go on a journey on Palace on Wheels, but the destiny has different ideas where the girl gets separated from his boyfriend and meets Hari Om with whom she travels in an auto-rickshaw called Madhuri from Jaipur to Jaisalmer," reveals Bharatbala.

But why an auto-rickshaw? "In Jodhpur, auto-rickshaws are very fancy where everyone desires to take a journey. It's a realistic film with twists of adventure and romance, so I have used auto- rickshaw, a kind of a taxi," he answers.

Vijay Raaz, who shot to fame as a wedding planner in Mira Nair's film Monsoon Wedding, plays the flamboyant auto-rickshaw driver Hari Om, with French actors Jean Marie Lamour, the lead in Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool and Camille Natta, the lead in Crimson Rivers. "Vijay came up as the choice to me as he fitted so well with the character Hari Om," says this aspiring director.

The film, who got its world premiere at Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Rio De Jenario Film Festival and Tokyo Film Festival, will showcase its Indian premiere at Goa Film Festival in November.

Taj Mahal

Bharat, who has also completed 60 per cent of the first Imax Format film Taj Mahal - The Heart Of India for the Indian audiences, admits, "The film is several times expensive and will have the impact on cinema. Countries like Egypt has Imax film made on pyramids but in India, there is no single film made on Imax format by any of the directors so I decided to do it," he adds.

Talking about the storyline, Bharat says, "The film shows the grandeur and richness of heritage of Moghul period where Aishwarya Rai plays Mumtaz Mahal." The world recognise India as the land of Taj Mahal, a monument built for love and this format is a natural fit made on Imax, he explains.

BHAWNA SATSANGI

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