| Actress Urmila Matondkar and director Pankaj Parashar promote Banaras in Lucknow on Sunday. (PTI)
Lucknow, April 2: Scarred by the March 7 blasts, Varanasi might find some emotional succour in Banaras, A Mystic Love Story, a film releasing on April 7 that glorifies the town’s past traditions and portrays its musical heritage.
But going by what its writer-producer, software engineer Lalchand Singh, has to say, Varanasi may not recognise much of itself in the Banaras it watches.
The early eighteenth century love story, starring Urmila Matondkar and Ashmit Patel, is an attempt “to rediscover the holy city in its unrivalled past contrasted with its present state of affairs”, said Singh.
“Banaras has been a centre of spirituality for centuries. This film attempts to extract the city’s lost character from the modern Varanasi and establish the abode of Shiva on the world film map.”
The Pankaj Parashar film was shot almost entirely in Varanasi for 43 days at a stretch in early 2005.
Urmila, who was in town to promote the film, said the shooting stint had “spiritually enlightened” her.
“Banaras has provided spiritual inspiration to enlightened personalities like Kabir and Buddha, it left an unmistakable stamp of spirituality on my body and soul too,” the Rangeela star said.
“I was shocked to hear of the serial blasts. But I hope Varanasi’s soul can never be torn apart. It is a condemnable act to use Varanasi as a theatre of violence' the city has always sent the message of amity to the world.”
In the film, Urmila comes to Varanasi to study science but gives it up to learn music.
The cast includes Raj Babbar, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah and Akash Khurana.
Singh said 90 per cent of the film was shot at various locations in Varanasi, including the BHU campus, the ghats and the famous Chunar Fort.
“I have put my best to recreate the ancient Banaras from modern Varanasi and the UP government should grant a tax-free status to the film to allow every commoner to link himself to the mystic charm of the cultural capital,” he said.
Singh is CEO of Pune-based IT company Nihilent Technologies and graduated in engineering from Banaras Hindu University.
“Though I am an engineer, it is my passion to make films and what better way to begin this quest than to pay a tribute to Banaras,” he said.