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Raavan brings Sita to town
- Ash-Abhi to shoot for Mani

Calcutta, Feb 14: New York, Madrid, Berlin… Calcutta.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s busy February diary has a somewhat unlikely entry.

After being Pink Panther’s Sonia on foreign shores for the first fortnight of February, the Bachchan bahu will spend the next fortnight in town being Raavan’s Sita.

Six years after she donned a white sari to be Binodini, a 19th-century Bengali widow in Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali, Ash will slip into a mix of gorgeous ghagras and simple saris to play today’s Sita in the Mani Ratnam film.

Her reel-life Raavan will join her next weekend as the creator of Guru reunites AshAbhi.

Sources said a 15-member unit of Raavan (led by Mani Ratnam and followed in batches by Ash and then Abhishek) will be camping in Vedic Village till the end of the month.

A villa in the Rajarhat resort has been booked for Aishwarya from February 15 to March 1, with Abhishek’s booking pencilled in from February 22, just after the release of Delhi-6.

“Around 40-50 per cent of the film will be shot in an Agarpara mill (in North 24-Parganas) and on the streets of Calcutta,” said a source, adding that Vedic Village had been chosen because of the “seclusion” factor.

But why Calcutta? Three factors apparently prompted the choice of location — Samir Chanda, the art director, is from this part of the world; Mani Ratnam had fallen in love with the city while shooting Yuva in 2004; fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who will be giving Aishwarya the Sita look, had a say in the scouting.

The Bachchan beta and bahu will of course be following in the footsteps of Pa and Ma. If Amitabh Bachchan was here to shoot for The Last Lear in 2007 — “I am Calcutta’s jamai”, he had announced — Jaya Bachchan was in town for Sunglass and then Lovesongs — Yesterday Today and Tomorrow.

“Calcutta has given so much to me and my family,” Ash had said during her last visit to the city on October 3.

That was a whirlwind day trip when the brand ambassador for premier watch brand Longines had proudly displayed the loha (iron bangle worn by a Bangali bou) on her left wrist.

The last week of February will mark the first time she and her loha-purush spend time together in town post-marriage, albeit as kidnapper (Raavan) and kidnapped (Sita).

“It’s always exciting to work with Mani and this time is no different,” Abhishek told The Telegraph last week.

“I have shot for two films in the city; shooting in Calcutta was an absolute delight,” he had said earlier.

This one — the third Calcutta film for both — promises to be a double delight.

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