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Deepti Naval documentary on Balraj Sahni hits roadblock

Subhash K. Jha
26 May 2013

Mumbai, May 26 (IANS) Films about Indian cinema's legendary personalities are still a rarity. And one of those rare attempts is being made by Deepti Naval - she is keenly interested in making a non-fictional film on the life and times of that amazingly naturalistic actor Balraj Sahni, but facing certain problems.

Deepti, who is aesthetically motivated by Balraj Sahni's effortless performances, has been researching his life for years. Just when she was ready to put all her research material on screen for the immortal actor's birth centenary this month, a hurdle has placed in Deepti's plans by Balraj Sahni's son Parikshat Sahni.

Explains Deepti, "I was really keen on making a film on Balraj Sahni. But when I approached his son Parikshat for his consent, he told me he had already given the filming rights on his father's life to another producer. He didn't think it was right for me to do a film when someone else is committed to do the same. I agree. But we're trying to find a solution to the deadlock, because I'm really keen to do do this."

Years ago, Simi Garewal made a documentarly called "Living Legend Raj Kapoor" and Sandip Ray did one on Kishore Kumar.

Deepti, who was recently seen in a minuscule role in Yash Raj Films' "Aurangzeb", says some of her important scenes have been cut from the film.

"But I've no regrets. I did it because of my regards for Mr. Yash Chopra. He was always very sweet and kind to me," said the actress of films like "Saath Saath" and "Chashme Buddoor".

The actress says mainstream cinema has always had a problem positioning her.

"That's why I keep running back to the more realistic cinema. It's okay to do a small role in mainstream cinema like 'Aurangzeb' or 'Yaariyan'. But it's films like Rituparno Ghosh's 'Memories Of March' and Avinash Kumar Singh's 'Listen, Amaya' that sustain me as an actress," said Deepti. She is now looking forward to the release of Shekhar Suman's "Heartless".

" 'Heartless' is a rare commercial film where I have a substantial role," she added.

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