After Begum Jaan, Srijit Mukherjee working on more Hindi films
27/12/2016

After wrapping up Begum Jaan, filmmaker Srijit Mukherjee is working on the Hindi remake of his much-acclaimed Bengali works Hemlock Society and Chotushkone. The two films marked a milestone in the Bengali film industry narrowing the divide between the art-house and commercial movies as they received critical acclaim as well as popular appreciation.

Srijit told PTI that while Hemlock Society had earlier been made in Marathi, he is now penning a Hindi script of the movie. “There will also be a Hindi version of ‘Chotushkone’
and I will soon start writing the script. ‘Chotushkone’ will be different from the Bengali version, more of a structural kind of thing,” he said. The ace filmmaker also has plans to make a movie about the life and times of the 19th century Bengali stage icon, Nati Binodini.

“I am also working on a film on Nati Binodini in Hindi and this is a fascinating subject. I am currently watching a few documentaries on her life and poring through writings on that period,” he said without elaborating. On Begum Jaan, produced by Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt, Srijit said that for its Bengali version Rajkahini, which was a huge box office success two years back, he had originally thought of Vidya Balan in the role of Begum Jaan, but the actress had expressed her inability to do the film.

He said he had even written the dialogue of the “kothi malkin” in a broken Hindi-Bengali format. “I wrote the part Hindi-Bengali script for ‘Rajkahini’ keeping in mind Vidya as “Begum Jaan”. However, as Vidya told me she was not doing films at that time, I said not an issue. I then wrote the entire script in Bangla and if you make such a film in Bengali it has to be none other than Ritu (Rituparna Sengupta),” Srijit explained.

As Rajkahini became a critical success, Srijit said, Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt urged him to do a Hindi remake of it and thus was born Begum Jaan. “I turned to Vidya again and luckily she said ‘yes’ this time. However with the original cameraman leaving before the start of shooting in Jharkhand and the set of a building having suffered extensive damage in a storm, we shot it on a war footing,” Srijit recalled.

Does he see any difference between Kolkata and Mumbai in terms of appeal to the audience? Srijit replies that while for the Kolkata audience the name of a director matters, in Mumbai it is more of a superstar-driven structure. On his special rapport with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he said, “I freak out on madness of people like Sanjay who can ask a Deepika Padukone to do a dancing sequence for 18 times. He is similar to my mentor Rituparna Ghosh.”