Performances you would love to see this year

Let'S be fair. So far this year we've had one outstanding film, and that's Rang De Basanti. Everyone and everything involved with it has turned into pure gold. It's easy to salute the Southern comfort Sidharth as the new kid on the block because the role is so cannily crafted. An actor would have to be an utter ass to botch it up. That, no actor in RDB is. Let's face it. RDB(not Rahul Dev Burman, Rang De Basanti) is the director's medium. The actual powerhouse performances will pervade the polished purdah of our movie theatres in the second half of 2006.

For beginners Esha Deol is going to shock you in Vikram Bhatt's Ankahee. Playing an on-the-edge-actress caught in an adulterous arm-twisting affair Esha comes into her own, proving herself better at the craft than her legendary mom. I can already see her name in all the popular awards nominations. Ditto Kajol in Fanaah and Bipasha Basu in Corporate , coming up in May and July. Kajol is no stranger to awards. Every performance of hers gets nominated anyway. In her first screen appearance since pal Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham she plays a blind girl in love with a closet-terrorist.

Watch the screen explode. From Tabu in Chandni Bar to Konkona in Page 3, Madhur Bhandarkar gets award-winning performances out of all his heroines. Bipasha Basu as the ruthless entrepreneur in Corporate will 'steel' your heart. The fourth female performance to die for this year would be Aishwarya Rai in J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan. Those who have been hammering the gorgeous Ms Rai for a thanda-thanda-cruel-cruel performance in The Mistress Of Spices must remember that an actor is only as good or as bad as vehicle provided. Hence the same Sammir Dattani who made minimal impact in his Uff Ka Jadoo Mohabbat Hai and Pyar Mein Twist, will rip the screen apart in Mani Shankar's Mukhbir when it opens in August. JP Dutta's Umrao Jaan will be Ash's 'swoon' song. The grace that she brings to her courtesan's role makes her one of the strongest contender for the best actress awards for 2006.

For the fifth female powerhouse performance I'd opt for Rani Mukherjee or Preity Zinta in Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. While one plays the epitome of warmth, the other is icy cold. Either way you can't miss the terrific vibes that underline the tale of the two wives.

The most talked-about male performer of the year is Abhishek Bachchan in Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna. The chap's career on the upswing since Mani Rathnam's Yuva promises to touch a new pinnacle with Karan's film where Abhishek matches strides with the two super-giants of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. The size of the role is no longer the determining factor for the actor. But it couldn't be a coincidence that all the roles that ear an awards-worthy air convey of sense of immense centrality to the player. Whether it's Hrithik Roshan in Krishh, Sammir Dattani in Mukhbir or little Sarla as the unforgettable Chuhiya in Deepa Mehta's Water it's the authorbacked roles that will get noticed the most.

So one sure prediction for next year's awards. There won't be a cakewalk like Amitabh Bachchan and Rani's Black magic this year.


No starry affair, this!

Page 3 addicts always want to know how 'normal' the superstars are. "Does Shabana really scrub her own floor? Does Raakhee cook entire meals? Do the Bachchans actually see their guests right to the main gate of their homes?" Yes, they do! The stars are as normal as you want them to be. Most of the time the problem is in the onlooker's head and ego. Either he acts too awestruck or too familiar.

Anupam Kher tells me about the onflight syndrome where the person next to him keeps looking furtively and finally asks Anupam, "Have I seen you somewhere before?" Gawking can get gloriously embarrassing for a star. Urmila Matondkar once told me about why she ceased to take dinner invitations from fans. "You can't put one morsel in your mouth without the flash popping in your eyes. You begin to feel like an animal in the zoo."

I recall a conversation with Mr Bachchan on this topic. He once spoke to me about how difficult it gets to keep a public face in place while hordes of people clamour for your attention. "Before you know it, someone from the crowd comes forward and gets his picture taken with you. And then before you know it, the same picture appears on the front cover of thousands of exercise books for school children. How do you avoid this?" "You can't give up the joy of interacting with your fans just because some of them get overenthusiastic," says John Abraham who on a recent visit abroad, had a taste of overzealous adulation when a hysterical male fan bit him hard in the shoulder. "And when I say hard, I mean really hard. I was in a daze. My shoulder was wounded for days. But I'd still go out there and mingle with the people who love me."

Stardom and adulation are addictive both for the star and the fan. The problem of being treated normally exists across the line. Stars pine for the human touch in their social interaction. Why do you think Madhuri Dixit married Dr Nene? I think Madhuri enjoyed the fact that the man who swept her off her feet wasn't swept off his feet by who she was. Stars often end up not marrying because they aren't sure if the person loves the celebrity or her power, wealth and empire. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Parekh had plenty of admirers. But none they could marry.

Today I find my dear sweet friend Ekta Kapoor facing the same dilemma. Whom can she marry? And how would she know it isn't for her money unless she marries Bill Gates. And that does sound far-fetched. "Find me a guy who loves me for myself and who isn't impressed by what I've achieved as an entrepreneur. And I'm game," says Ekta. The uneasy relationship between the star and the fan lingers. What also lingers is that feeling of the star looking for the human touch amidst the glitter.


Pampered and privileged generation of film stars

Say hello to the Pampered and Privileged generation. On the sets of her soon-tobe-director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black, Anil Kapoor daughter Sonam, a tall, dusky and angelic girl, was eager to prove herself and tried to make herself useful on the sets. The fact that she had just returned from abroad and had the best of education and opportunities, only added to her anxiety to prove herself. Spoilt kid? No way! Ranbir Kapoor too is the exact antithesis of what you expect a star-kid to be. Polite, clued-in, alert and computer savvy. Ranbir cannot afford to be anything but the paragon of patience and discipline. One slip, and the onlookers will brand him 'Kapoor khandaan ka bigda badshah'. Sonam and Ranbir need to prove themselves twice as hard as the other newcomers. The fact that they belong to two of the most illustrious families of filmdom puts an extra burden on them.

It doesn't matter how talented or charming you are. Being privileged means being persecuted. And it doesn't mean just being a star-kid. Sammir Dattani comes from a well-to-do business family where cinema isn't an option, it's an indulgence. When he drove down in his flashy, red car to meet producers, no one took his 'struggle' seriously. Be small, be humble and apologetic about your privileged background. It's the only way you will get past the producer's smirky disdain. Abhishek Bachchan, Esha Deol, Karisma and Kareena Kapoor have had to struggle far harder than the average outsider (some of whom are truly average!). Time after time, they were pulled up for where they came from, so much so that they soon began to believe it was a crime to belong to a film family.

One of them once confessed, "Nothing I do is right. My face, my hair, my body language, facial expressions; they are all supposed to be terrible when compared to my mom's. What do I do? Should I publicly disown my pedigree and pretend to be this poor jhola-carrying struggler from Rohtak who has to sleep her way to the top?" That stereotype is way too passť now.

Says Rituparno Ghosh, "The class of archetypal strugglers who landed at Mumbai Central with dreams in their eyes and Rs 500 in their pocket, slept on pavements and danced for amused producers hoping they'd get a role, died with Dharmendra and Mithun Chakraborty. There are no strugglers in the true sense. Many of these new wannabes drive in sports cars and carry glossy portfolios of their pictures. We can't hold their lack of 'struggle' against them."

Yup, this is a new, forceful and upbeat breed which doesn't think much of the old role-model of how a star should behave. At the same time, the new P & P breed of wannabes are bigger stars in their heads than Rajesh Khanna or Kumar Gaurav could have ever been. Ranbir and Sonam have already decided in their heads that they're star material. Nothing in their attitude will give away their self-confidence. That's what makes them such exciting performers.


Is Hollywood becoming more and more like Indian cinema?

Unique love scenes in films are like scoops of eternity, never to be lost or collected in a clasp. Watching the sensuality of Rob Marshall's Memoirs Of A Geisha, it becomes progressively clear that international cinema careens more and more towards Oriental expressions of emotions, especially love. That last moment of stolen tenderness between Ziyi Zhang and Ken Watanabe, where he tells her he's loved her ever since he saw her as a little girl, could be a moment straight out of Yash Chopra's Lamhe or it could be that heart-stopping moment in Black where the blind and deaf Michelle asks her teacher to make her feel like a woman.

As Gulzar says, "Love starts with the physical and then moves beyond the body." Hindi cinema has been doing that quite regularly. In the More piya raasleela song sequence in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, the way the camera caressed the contours of the divine-erotic love lyric between Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai was a far more electrifying moment of love than the over-rated Dilip Kumar-Madhubala 'like-feather-like-song' frolic in Mughal-e-Azam.

Check out the smouldering looks which Joaquin Phoenix exchanges with Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line or that great onscreen chemistry that Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni share in Fun With Dick & Jane. Didn't Dick and Jane remind you of our own Bunty and Babli? And didn't Abhishek Bachchan in Dus remind you of Will Smith in Bad Boys? And doesn't the over-hyped Telugu star Siddharth in Rakeysh Mehra's extraordinary Rang De Basanti remind you of the tycoon's son in Arthur Miller's All My Sons where the son shoots himself dead after he discovers his dad had been selling faulty spare parts to the army aircrafts that killed a soldier. Familiar terrain. Though Rakeysh has no clue about All My Sons.

This healthy give-andtake of ideas between Bollywood and Hollywood has now come to a place where cinema from two disparate worlds can have the same face. Is Hollywood becoming more and more like Indian cinema? The mounting of the Memoirs Of A Geisha story could be Muzaffar Ali's Umrao Jaan, the colours were from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, the poetic lyricism seemed derived from Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah and the raw hurting realism about gender equations came from Madhur Bhandarkar's Chandni Bar.

More than ever, the West seems to value those very emotions that Indian cinema seemed to be losing out on. For a while now, Indian filmmakers had become almost apologetic about displaying our cultural roots on screen. No more. We as a nation producing the largest number of films can gush at Geisha because we know that story of a little girl who was kidnapped into a brothel and groomed into growing up to be a poised sex worker. J P Dutta calls her Umrao Jaan. And it's no coincidence that the poetic tawaif is played by the international face of Indian cinema.


Its hard to play a working girl

Sex workers aren't meant to be sexy, and certainly not enigmatic and poetic, like Nargis in Adaalat, Meena Kumari in Pakeezah and Rekha in Umrao Jaan. These women remained chaste and sublime - qualities defined by the songs and poetry that they sang and their body language.

Times have certainly changed. The Fallen Woman has gone from Chalte chalte yuhi koi mila gaya tha in Pakeezah to Bichua dank mare in Chingaari. "If I showed my heroine as a virgin-whore today, people would laugh at me. I think those times when sex workers had to sob in a corner after being 'touched' by a man are long over," says Kalpana Lajmi in whose Chingaari Sushmita gives a powerhouse performance as a prostitute who celebrates her job. Sushmita isn't the first feisty woman to play a prostitute. Remember the entire gallery of glorious women actors in Shyam Benegal's Mandi? From Shabana Azmi as the brothel madame to Smita Patil as her favourite inmate, to Neena Gupta, Soni Razdan and Ila Arun (who incidentally is promoted to the Madame's role in Chingaari)... somehow whores translate into award-winning performances.

But they aren't easy to play. Even saying the word randi was tough for Shabana Azmi in Mahesh Bhatt's Arth. And yet she knocked the lid off the coy-whore prototype in Mandi, Bhavna and Doosri Dulhan. But for an actor to over-act, she first needs to know how to act. There're so many actors who pass off their lazy languorous non-performances as "spontaneous acting" Like Shabana, Sushmita isn't fearful of being emotionally naked on screen. To play a prostitute you need to rip your soul apart and watch the fragments of your consciousness scatter across the universe of a film. Not too many actors can do that. When Sharmila Tagore played a street-walker in Gulzar's resplendent Mausam she had a tough time saying cusswords and acting cheaply seductive. She won the National award for her efforts.

Kareena Kapoor didn't. Though she was effervescent in the prostitute's part in Chameli somehow Kareena exemplary efforts went unrewarded. Could it be because she didn't pull out all the stops and completely lose her urban inhibitions ? Namrata Shirodkar had that problem when she played the whore in Vaastav. "Every time I had to speak lines like "Chal kapde utar" I'd cringe. I told my director Mahesh Manjrekar I won't do it. Thankfully he helped me get over my inhibitions. And when someone of Jaya Bachchan's calibre said I deserved the National award for my performance in Vaastav my day was made," says Namrata. Today Namrata is happily married and away from the limelight can look back at Vaastav as the single-most important film of her career.


They do it real for reel

As Sushmita Sen discards her femme fatale image this week to get into her character as the rustic prostitute in Kalpana Lajmi's Chingaari, you know an actor is at work. Dino Morea's elegant salsa steps in Holiday leave a dent in your psyche. Dino spent nearly six months getting his unusual steps right. He doesn't dance, he glides across the polished frames with a style and elegance you thought you would never see after Kamal Haasan in K Vishwanath's Sagara Sangamam.

It takes a lot for a male star to discard the postures of machismo to play roles on-screen that require him to do delicate things. Dino carried off the dancing with muted machismo. The other pinned-up boy John Abraham is unrecognisable as the Gandhian reformist in Deepa Mehta's Water.

Perhaps putting your life in danger for a role is slightly impractical. But actors in Bollywood are growing increasingly aware of the power of preparation. Before Viveik Oberoi plunged into playing the gangster in Company, he wore dirty clothes and lived in a chawl. A female co-star had sniggered at Viveik. "I don't believe in all this preparation and method acting. I'm a switch-on, switch-off actor." This could be translated as, 'I am too lazy to do any homework'. Lekin Madam, yeh chalta hai attitude nahin chalega. Getting ready for a role isn't just the Naseer-Shabana-Om brigade's prerogative any longer.

Mainstream has gone method. If Dino practiced his salsa steps for Holiday, John learnt to play the flute for Water and for Farhan Akhtar's Don, Priyanka Chopra's taking karate lessons. For Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara, Saif Ali Khan has shaved his hair, lined his face with a scar, put on dirty clothes and a limp to boot. "This kind of external preparation always helps you to get into character. I believe once you get the clothes, speech and body language right, you've got it made," says Saif. For Krrish, Hrithik Roshan went through rigorous stunt training in Bangkok. His first costume drama Jodhaa Akbar would require this supremely methodical actor to ride horses and fight with swords. No doubt, there will be a period of intense fighting and fencing training to face the role.

Mainstream actors have always been ready to stretch themselves for a role. Trouble is, no one wants them to be anything but stars. Audiences don't like seeing their favourite stars change their look or personality. Salman's droopy hair in Tere Naam or Aamir's rising moustache in Mangal Pandey are fine. But when Anil Kapoor added 20 kilos to his girth in Badhaai Ho Badhaai, they booed him out.

This kind of rigorous training is only possible today when actors work on one role at a time. Earlier, when Rajesh Khanna had to grow a beard for his psychologically disturbed character in Ittefaq, he sauntered into many sequences of Do Raaste with the facial hair that didn't suit the character. Today's average mega-stars are clued in and understand the value of preparation. It all depends on what they are preparing for.

For a role, Kamal Haasan put his face in a plastic bag and screamed for his dubbing. His voice was never the same again.


Marriages are made while making films

If you're the sort who likes to saunter into an engaging movie experience, you cannot miss Rajat Kapoor sexcomedy Mixed Doubles. Ranvir Shourie and Konkona Sensharma have not admitted to a relationship yet, but director Rajat Kapoor has spilt the beans... developing chemistry is a basic fact of screen-life. If Konkona is down with viral fever, Ranvir will surely follow suit! Incidentally, when John Abraham was suffering from flu last year, Bipasha Basu also fell violently ill. We saw it in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam too, where the real-life couple Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan looked so compatible.

There's a mystical quality to the metamorphosis of a reel couple into the real one. It happens in front of dozens of people in a unit. Quite often, the onlookers see the love-spill long before the pair itself. This is what happened with Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna during shoots in Canada for International Khiladi.

Marriages aren't made in heaven, they are made on international locations! And they often out-last all the sardonic misgivings about movie marriages. The best example is Dharmendra and Hema Malini, one of the most endearing and enduring couples in showbiz.

Kamal Haasan recalls falling in love with his co-star Sarika, "During the making of Raj Kumar Kohli's costume drama Raj Tilak, Sarika and I had fallen in love. Who says love makes a couple unprofessional?" According to a retired, happily-married female actor, "Working in close proximity, shooting together day and night the reel spills into the real. Before you know it, you're sharing more than just cordial vibes with your costar. I've seen it happen to so many of my colleagues. Especially when you're away on an outdoor location, you tend to drop your defences, loosen up and share confidences."

That's what happened to Sunil Dutt and Nargis one fine day on set. When Sunil Dutt rescued Nargis from a fire on the sets of Mother India, he also rescued her from an emotional crisis that threatened to destroy her emotional equilibrium. When Jaya Bhaduri looked shyly into the timid Amitabh Bachchan's eyes for the first time in Ek Nazar, she knew this was the man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life. And she did. And now this week when you see Konkona clicking so perfectly in Ranvir's company in Mixed Doubles, you can only cross your fingers for another love story to blossom into something more than meets the sigh. Or hype. We haven't had one of those for quite a while.


Rough sledding for celebrity siblings and spouses

Ever wondered about those extremely gifted souls who have to live under the shadow of their awesome 'other'... a sister, spouse or a parent who's already made legendary inroads into creative fields always proves a stumbling block.

PS Bharathi is the lady who has edited Rang De Basanti. She is also the very gifted director Rakeysh Mehra's equally gifted wife. "The minute I say she's my wife, Bharathi's talents are qualified and eclipsed," says Rakeysh. That's been the case with many families of super-achievers. Take Sanjay Leela Bhansali's sibling Bela Segal. She has a sense of humour about her precarious predicament. "Black was my fourth and last film. I'm directing my own film next year. So no more editing," says Bela.

Scapegoats? Why are these achievers' equally talented kin reduced to being a wannabe? Sanjay Leela Bhansali feels extremely guilty. "Sometimes, I feel I'm the biggest enemy in my sister's life," he says. It's as if God decides that one family can have only one Lata Mangeshkar. So, her sister Asha Bhosle had to move out of her family domain to painstakingly carve a niche of her own. "I know for a fact that if I had been born in another family, and not the Mangeshkars, I'd have not been subjected to these constant number one and number two comparisons," Bhosle had once said.

No wonder she found an equally kindred and potentially smothered spirit in Rahul Dev Burman. RD was constantly compared with his father Sachin Dev Burman and found to be wanting. RD vented his anger and bitterness in his melodies. "You'll be surprised to know that Pancham (RD) composed several well-known songs for his father's soundtracks and let the producers pass them off as the senior Burman's tunes. It was a manner and matter of survival," confides Bhosle.

Tanuja, spirited and spontaneous mom of Kajol was fortunate enough to have the legendary Nutan for a sister. But did it help her career to be known as Nutan's sister? Apart from stray opportunities to prove herself (Basu Bhattacharya's Anubhav, Govinda Saraiya's Priya) Tanuja's career remained eclipsed by the great Nutan.

After making one attempt at stardom in his superstar-jeejajee Rajesh Khanna's company in Shakti Samanta's Anurodh, Simple Kapadia was happy designing clothes for sister Dimple's friends. Aamir Khan's brother Faizal was given a hand-up by his star-bro in Dharmesh Darshan's Mela.

Let's hope Farhan Akhtar's sister Zoya isn't punished for her brother's success.


Cell Phone tales of Bollywood Celebrities

Lara's missing! When the whole world wants to congratulate her for her cameo as a spunky Punjabi cabbie in Sanjay Gupta's dark and brutal Zinda, Lara Dutta has changed her mobile number. And none of her friends seem to know her new number, not even boyfriend Kelly Dorji. Maybe Lara has turned into a recluse and headed for the Himalayas, forgetting to let her friends know her new number. You can't be a star and not be connected by the cellphone to the rest of humanity.

Urmila Matondkar gives her cell number to a privileged few. "It becomes very embarrassing when my phone starts ringing in my purse right after I've told someone I don't carry one," she giggles. Others like Karan Johar use the cellphone for their own enjoyment. Sushmita Sen once grabbed Karan's ringing mobile, pretending to be his secretary. Akshay Kumar would hand the phone to you and offer, "Tu Akshay banega? Le, baat kar." If the phone of a star is engaged for long hours it means they are for sure in a new relationship. That's how Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapur got found out. Her phone got unusually busy. Incidentally, Kareena and Karisma's cell numbers were separated by only one digit until recently.

Most stars choose to change their numbers only when the 'wrong' kind of calls start coming in. Akshay has kept the same number in spite of threats and crank calls. "It's too much of a problem to inform people of the change," he says. As for Amitabh Bachchan, no one threatens India's greatest showbiz icon. So why should he change his number? "Thank God for the mobile! You know exactly where the kids are and what they're doing," says Amitabh. Several stars like Suniel Shetty carry two mobiles. One of the numbers is strictly for family and close friends. And if a star gives you his second number, you're a part of the inner circle. Preity Zinta and Priyanka Chopra change their cell numbers most often.

There are touts and other elements on their sets who would more than willingly give you a star's number at prices ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 12,000. Yes, you can actually 'buy' a star's number.

Not everyone is comfortable with the mobile culture. "I can read SMS's but I cannot send them," Lata Mangeshkar reveals shyly. Javed Akhtar was recently taught by wife Shabana Azmi how to use the SMS. Now when he isn't writing lyrics, he sends lyrical messages to his friends. Yash Chopra can't SMS. If you send him one, he'll call you back. And if you call or SMS his son Aditya Chopra, he won't respond. Period. Gulzar is one of the few who refuses to carry a mobile. "I think it's an outright intrusion. Besides, I'm dressed in a kurta-pyjama most of the time. So, where will I keep it?"

Directors Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ram Gopal Varma lose their cellphones most often and deserve a prize.

The most diligent and meticulous responses to cellphone calls and queries always come from Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. No message or call to them goes un-returned.


Top 10 films coming in 2006

What To See This Year? There are films in 2006 for which one would brave the rains and defy the drivel that generally pours out of the screen. Here are the 10 films in 2006 I'd kill to see.

Saanvariya: A Sanjay Leela Bhansali creation is a joy forever. Since Sony Pictures is investing, the stakes are automatically higher. Saanvariya will be far more frothy, blithe and music-filled than Black.

Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna: Karan Johar-Shah Rukh Khan, Rani-Preity plus the two Bachchans, Amitabh and Abhishek. This time the senior Bachchan is cast totally contrary to anything he has played so far. Though Karan will go into a more mature territory, audiences who loved K3G won't come away disappointed.

Umrao Jaan: The magic that JP Dutta is currently creating in Jaipur is going to be hard to equal. Watching Aishwarya perform a mujra before Abhishek Bachchan amidst a bevy of bustling beauties from Shabana Azmi to Divya Dutta, you feel you're transported to the world that Meena Kumari once inhabited.

Rang De Basanti: In his second film Rakeysh Mehra will take us into walloping world of youthful aspirations lit up by energetic actors as rangy as Aamir Khan and Madhavan. This one will be a trendsetter like Farhan Akhar's Dil Chahta Hai.

Mukhbir (the informer) : Mani Shankar returns with a thriller about a government spy (Sammir Dattani) who changes identity to infiltrate terrorism. With a strong cast and script producer Sudhish Rambhotla has the formula right.

Don: Farhan Akhtar's remake of Chandra Barot's Bachchan actioner carves out a James Bond-meets-Mission Impossible thriller. Watch out for Kareena Kapoor sizzling to Helen's Yeh mera dil.

Vivaah: After messing up with Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, Sooraj Barjatya leaves behind Kareena to cast her beau Shahid Kapur with Amrita Rao in a film that explores the sanctity of marriage.

Sholay: He casts Amitabh Bachchan as Gabbar Singh and Abhishek and Mohit Ahlawat as the two mercenaries who vanquish the Ravan of the ravines. Will Ram Gopal Varma's pair make the same impact as Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra?

Corporate: Madhur Bhandarkar's follow-up to the resounding success of Page 3. Once again Madhur relies on a largely untapped ensemble cast .

Water: Only God and the distributors know when the last part of Deepa Mehta's trilogy would get released in India. The film about widows languishing by the ghats of the Ganga is actually shot in Sri Lanka.