Fitoor director Abhishek Kapoor was recently in the news for a controversial change that the film went through. There were reports that Rekha who was roped in, chose to walk away from the film after realising she wasn’t on the same page as the rest of the team. There were whispers that the senior actress wasn’t too thrilled playing a much older role opposite a younger Katrina Kaif.

To avoid losing time, Kapoor made a last minute call to Tabu and asked her to step in the film. When asked about Rekha&’s sudden exit he said, “You know sometimes, there is a part… I mean all these characters in the film are complex and theoretically people can agree but in the execution of the implementation of it they could be something that we don’t see… they are not on the same page. So it is better to diagnose that earlier than to go ahead with it. And we understood that and we chose to agree to disagree. And we just shot two-three days with Rekhaji and we understood that this might not be the right film for us to collaborate on. And fortunately for me Tabu was not shooting and she was free and she had really loved the part so she came on board. And I think we made a smooth transition for it and you know I think things like this happen but nothing is more important than the film, it&’s not about me or anybody else.”

When asked if age was ever a factor of concern when casting for this particular part he said, “Yes, but for some reason Tabu fits into it as a whole graph to the character. So age has not been such a character because there was make-up and lighting and costume to support to character to grow as the script progresses. If Rekhaji would have played it she would have played it her way and Tabu has played it her way and they are both fabulous actors. I am just glad that Tabu has come in and added her own dimension to it.”

‘Sarbjit is not a boring biopic’

In the comeback film of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan&’s Jazbaa, she played a no-nonsense lawyer that had no room for a song and dance. However, in her next film, Sarbjit; she plays a village girl in Punjab and song-and-dance is as much part of their life, as it is for a Hindi film.

The first song in Sarbjit is being shot in Mumbai next week at a set in Film City. The song — Tuglak Tuglak Tun — is an energetic bhangra number, similar to the Nagada Nagada from Jab We Met.

Sarbjit is a biopic based on the life of the Indian villager who unwittingly crossed from Punjab into Pakistani and was arrested. While human right activists fought to free him and bring him home, he died in a Pakistan prison. One expected it to be a serious film.

Director Omung Kumar has a different take on it. He explains, “Sarbjit is a biopic but made in a different way and all biopics don’t have to be sad. This one&’s story spans over 23 years. Before he disappeared, his life was full of fun and festivity. Then a drastic change happens, but a festive song was always meant to happen to show the contrast between then and now. While the seriousness has to be there, I am not making a boring film. I want people to cry, laugh and go through all the emotions. Twenty-three years is a long time and I do everything in films larger-than-life so even my way of showing Punjab will be bigger. This song is a full-on Punjabi dhamaal number.”

Choreographed by Vishnu Deva, the song features Richa Chadda and Randeep Hooda matching steps with Bachchan.

Prakash Jha is furious

Recently, it was revealed that Jai Gangaajal had been given a U/A certificate by the Censor Board of Film Certification after getting 11 cuts. It was also reported that the director, Prakash Jha was miffed about it, but had accepted the certificate. However, as per the latest developments, we now come to know that the filmmaker hasn’t accepted the certification and has taken this whole matter to the tribunal committee.

While Rajkumar Hirani was allowed to retain the word saala in the title of his next flick  Saala Khadoos, Jha had been asked to beep it out wherever it is used in Jai Gangaajal. The offensive word incidentally figures in chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani&’s infamous cuss list which also consists of words such as “ghanta” and a few other “gaalis”.

“How many beeps can you have in a film? Saala is a word we use in everyday conversation. My cop drama is set in the hinterlands. I’m not saying anything anti-national or anti-religion. I’m a responsible maker who would never hurt anyone&’s sentiments. There&’s a need to look at the context in which a particular word or phrase is used. If a villain is saying something and is immediately taken to task for it and not glorified, they should let it go.”

Jha argued that the original Gangaajal, which released in 2003 and was full of violence and cuss words, had been passed with a U/A certificate and only one word muted. Even back then the BJP was in power with Ravi Shankar Prasad as the Union information and broadcasting minister. “It has been telecast on TV over 300 times since and no one has objected to the language,” he pointed out.

There was an objection raised about a comment about a woman too. As Jha pointed out that his protagonist is a woman, a cop, who&’s in uniform 99 per cent. “There&’s no overt sexuality or unnecessary violence. They wanted me to reduce an action scene by 50 per cent, I’m okay with that, but not okay with the language being diluted. I’m going to the Tribunal hoping they will see things in the right context. Else, I’ll move court. One mindset has created all this absurdity,” he addressed, adding that his socially relevant drama has a message for youngsters and an “A” certificate would not allow them to see it.