The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shekhar heads back with Mantra

Mumbai, Oct. 28 (AFP): Internationally acclaimed film director Shekhar Kapur will make his much-talked about re-entry into Bollywood next year with a fantasy film Mantra.

Kapur, who directed the critically acclaimed Bandit Queen and Hollywood production Elizabeth as well as Bollywood 1980s blockbusters like Mr India and Masoom, said he would put on a producer’s cap for Mantra. The movie would be directed by Bollywood’s Vishal Bhardwaj.

Kapur, after making Bandit Queen in the mid 90s, moved to London and directed big budget films Elizabeth and Four Feathers.

His re-entry into Bollywood was prompted by a story he dreamed up about a child who acquires magical powers and who has to deal with both the joys and the troubles that come with them.

The script will be written by Bhardwaj and writer Abbas Tyrewala.

“I thought of the story a couple of months ago and when I saw Maqbool I knew Vishal had to direct it,” Kapur said.

He said he had seen Bhardwaj’s Maqbool, a Mumbai gangland-based adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, at the recent Marrakesh Film Festival in Morocco and was so impressed that he instantly struck up a friendship with him.

“Shekhar mooted the idea for Mantra in a small teashop in Marrakesh. I loved the idea and we struck the deal instantly,” Bhardwaj said.

“It was finalised when he fished into his pockets and gave me all the Dirhams he had as a signing amount,” he added.

Mantra is a kids’ film along the lines of Mr India which appeals to both children and to the child in you.”

Bhardwaj has previously directed a children’s film called Makdee, but is now better known for Maqbool, which was hailed at the Marrakesh Film Festival as well as at this month’s International Film Festival of India in New Delhi.

Mantra marks Kapur’s first foray into Hindi film production.

“I see myself getting into production in a big way, but only as long as I can continue directing,” Kapur said.

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