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The curious trail of Christ
Screen On & Off
Death wish:May 26 is the D-Day when two of India’s best actors will be seen romancing on the big screen for the first time. Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa has Aamir Khan playing an undercover terrorist who falls in love with a Kashmiri girl, played by Kajol. Also starring Tabu, Rishi Kapoor and Shruti Seth, the Yashraj production has been shot in Delhi and Poland.

Whether Jesus Christ had indeed put up in Puri and breathed his last in Kashmir is at best a contentious issue for select research academic corridors. What's heartening is that a documentary on the topic is making its way to film festivals around the world.

Subhrajit Mitra's The Unknown Stories of the Messiah, with Soumitra Chatterjee and Aparna Sen playing star anchors, has been sent to 15 festivals, including Cannes. The others are New Jersey, Melbourne, Sidney, Barcelona, Marseilles and Hollywood International Film Festival.

The 45-minute documentary features the star actors playing an archaeologist and a researcher who discuss the points and counterpoints of the theory and reveal several interesting nuggets. It has been produced by city-based Sweet Melody, which churns out TV serials like Dhyatterika, at an approximate cost of Rs 16 lakh.

Oh jesus: Soumitra Chatterjee in The Unknown Stories of the Messiah

The Unknown Stories' tracks a popular alternative theory that Jesus had travelled to India after Crucifixion along with Mother Mary, studied Hindu and Buddhist religions and died in Kashmir where he was finally entombed. Apart from citing the Bhavishya Mahapurana, the Quran and Buddhist scriptures, the makers have interviewed scholars from Nalanda University, Calcutta University and The Asiatic Society to support the theory. There is on-location footage in Ladakh and Kashmir, specially the Rosa-Bal tomb where Jesus is buried according to Jewish tradition.

And this could just be a prelude to a sustained series of documentaries on the subject that Mitra is planning to put together. 'The History Channel and Discovery Channel have shown interest in airing the documentary and talks are on to make a series on the subject,' says Mitra, who is chalking out a 20-episode series of one-hour duration.

'The idea is to trace Jesus wherever he had reportedly been to. All the places he had travelled to have folk tales and folklore. We will try and enact those to make it easy for the viewers,' explains Mitra, an empanelled scriptwriter-director for National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

He plans to rope in Holgar Kersten, the German scholar whose seminal works ' Jesus Lived in India and The Jesus Conspiracy ' have proved the basis of his study.

Budding business

Two of the three Calcuttans in the fray to be crowned Business Baazigar on Zee TV, are back in town for a break from shooting. Speaking about their experience of surviving the early rounds on Monday, the two recalled some of the tasks they had to do.

'We were given five hours and Rs 50,000 to set up a functional office,' recalled Partha Ghosh, who works with a shipping company.

'This way their ability to manage time, money and men was getting tested,' pointed out Ashish Kaul, senior vice-president, Zee Network.

Aswani Diwan, a first-year student of Netaji Subhas Engineering College, learnt about the show on the Net. 'If I get the funding from this programme, I will ask people to invest Rs 10 and see their money roll without risk of a loss.'

In Business Baazigar there will be no scope for regional pitching. The contestants will themselves keep identifying and eliminating the weakest link, the one who fails to deliver. 'This way, there is no scope for bias,' smiled Ghosh.

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