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In love... 16 to 40



Milind Soman.

SOMETIMES DUST gives the impression of cover, sometimes trust becomes hard to discover. Ask producer Milind Soman. He has gathered so much from his glitzy past that it takes time to reach out to his well-chiselled soul.

After fiddling with the Rules of mainstream Bollywood, which failed to give any super hit formula yet managed to highlight many discrepancies in the established ones , Milind continues to experiment.

Budgetary imbalance

His next film is Phir Zindagi, again a venture, which veers around a female character, again a film, which concentrates on multiplex audience. Milind calls them satellite television watching audience. "I don't have the budget where I can put one crore for promotion alone. I can't compete with Kisnas and Veer Zaaras, which can recover their money on hype-generated openings alone. In India we don't have France-like situation where you can't promote your film on television because all the productions can't afford to spend the same kind of money. They largely rely on billboards." His film is a story of girl who wants to kill herself only to rediscover life in a new form. With Gul Panag in lead Milind is hopeful he will be able to retain his segment of audience.

A boy-next-door who has arrived on the big stage of showbiz through sheer determination, it seems a safe bet. Why doesn't he capture common man who is missing from the Bollywood script for the last decade? "I don't understand Bihar so I can't make films for their sentiments." Again the dust shows its effect. "Actually the problem is, over the years neither the government nor the industry is educating the audience. If films like Do Beegha Zameen were being made, fantasies were also sold regularly. Today common man is a demand of overseas audience, not Indian."

Experiment shy

Well, common man may have become a fantastic figure for NRI audience but when Shah Rukh tried to paint him in Swades, he failed. "In the last decade, he has hardly experimented and audience have become used to see him as Shah Rukh. I believe our heroes should experiment much more.

Our heroines do, because they don't have much to perform in the male dominated scripts. Anyway the so-called experimentation is mostly in the form of excess exposure which both producers and distributors enjoy." However, Milind best known for his character in Agnivarsha, is testing new grounds. "I am doing a film Valley of Flowers, a German production shot in China and Japan. It is about love, death and a demon where I am playing a Himalayan bandit. It has Naseeruddin Shah as yeti and a Chinese actress Mylene Jampanoi as the love interest." Then he has Papa, where he is a busy doctor who could not give time to his daughter. In the mainstream, he has Jurm ready for release. Here he is a lawyer out to save Bobby Deol, charged with murder. He shares, "I can assure you Bobby has committed a murder but not of Lara." On the personal front, one of the most eligible bachelors in the country is at it again and contrary to rumour mills he has moved beyond Gul. "Gul has got engaged. Every time I think this is final, something happens. This time it is a short French girl." Short? "Yes, definitions of love change as you grow from 16 to 40."

ANUJ KUMAR

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