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Fun train

Kamal Haasan's "Mumbai Express" providesa different texture to comedy



Kamal Hasan with Manisha Koirala

HE BREAKS the rules of conventional cinema but this time he has bent the rule book of the censors too. Yes. Kamal Haasan created a history by becoming the first film producer in the country to get his film censored in digital format. But he has to make a sacrifice too in the process. For the first time he had to forego a full (item) song to the censor cut to avoid an `A' certificate to his `family entertainer,' Mumbai X press, made in Hindi and Tamil with a Telugu dubbed version having a simultaneous release on April 14.

The perfect synergy between director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao and Kamal Haasan that grew over the years right from Kamal's debut production, Rajaparvai (Amavasya Chandrudu in Telugu) and later with Pushpak and Appu Raja is evident one more time in their latest `laugh riot' . "Kamal's screenplay bubbles with zest," opines Singeetham. He says never in his career had he ever seen a screenplay that balances complexity so seamlessly with the appeal to the common man, as Mumbai X press does. "He wanted it to have a different texture. We don't have realistic comedies. Whereas in European films, one can find realistic comedy with the characters behaving normally, yet producing humour. It is again a sort of an experiment and as I said, we gave a comedy with a different texture,"says the director.

Kamal Haasan's preparedness to forgo the song `that tells the story too' (regarding greed for money etc.) is not without reason. The story is based on a young boy (played by the ten year old Hardik) and the movie as such has been conceptualised keeping children and young viewers in mind. "Besides comic spills, there are daring thrills too for that edge of the seat entertainment," says the icon who has done some amazing stunts without a double. "For the first time in Indian cinema, the hero walks to the tip of a boom of a tower crane perched on the 36th floor of a high rise building," adds the hero. And there are dangerous bike rides in the `death well' as well as the ride on the rooftops of Dharavi slums (all composed by Vikram Dharma).

Talking about his heroine, Manisha Koirala, Kamal says that this is the third film they are featuring together and she is his `hat trick heroine." Hardik is starting his career just like him, as a child star. "Ramesh Aravind will be remembered for his role of Thambu Chetty."

On the technical front he says that his cinematographer Siddharth will be the trail blazer in the realm of digital film making in the country. Debut art director Nitin Wable recreated the slum set near the airport in Mumbai to shoot the movement of the jumbo jets that appear part of the cast. Kamal Haasan's favourite composer Ilayaraja composed music for both the versions. "The introductory song that showcases the romance between the hero and the heroine was composed and conducted by the maestro with a Hungarian Orchestra in Budapest." He adds that one more highlight is the `Vandemataram' song shot on children with the hero in the background. "For the Telugu version Vennelakanti wrote the dialogue and the lyrics making it look so authentic and original."

The publicity comes with a disclaimer from the charismatic actor-producer: "The producers do not warrant or assume any responsibility for injuries sustained by persons sitting on the edge of the seat during tense sequences and/or by inadvertently falling off the seats while laughing."

That explains the theme behind the "train that will transport you to a world of fun, laughter, thrills and spills."

M.L. NARASIMHAM

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